Brittney Griner moved to penal colony in Russia’s Mordovia region | Russia-Ukraine war News

The WNBA player, whose whereabouts are unknown, is in a penal colony 500 kilometers southeast of Moscow, lawyers confirmed.

United States basketball player Brittney Griner has been transferred to a penal colony in the Russian region of Mordovia to serve a nine-year sentence. sentenced to prison for drug possessionher attorney confirmed, as President Joe Biden’s administration continues to push for her release.

Griner’s lawyers said in a statement on Thursday that she was taken to the IK-2 Women’s Punishment Zone in the town of Yavas, about 500km southeast of Moscow.

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) star was transferred from a detention center near the Russian capital on November 4, while her lawyer said at the time that she was transferred to a penal colonyHer exact whereabouts were not known to the public.

“We can confirm that Brittney has begun serving her sentence at IK-2 in Mordovia. We visited her earlier this week,” attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boikov said in a statement Thursday.

“Brittney is doing well what can be expected and trying to stay strong as she adjusts to her new environment.”

The US State Department said on Wednesday the embassy in Moscow had been unable to contact Griner since the handover.

“We, through our lawyers, know her whereabouts and are in regular contact with Ms. Griner’s legal team, but officially, the Russian Federation has not made any major announcements yet. any awareness of such a move by a U.S. citizen, which we strongly oppose,” Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters.

“Our embassy and mission in Moscow have continued to press for more information about her transfer and current location, and those requests continue to be made.”

The penal colony of Russia is known for their harsh conditionswhere prisoners are placed in barracks rather than individual cells and forced to perform daily tasks.

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, is one of two American citizens Washington believes are being unjustly detained in Russia. Paul Whelana former US Marine, sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2020 on espionage charges.

Griner’s arrest earlier this year came days before Russia launched an all-out assault. Invasion of Ukraine and her case was moved through the Russian court system amid war-torn relations between Moscow and Washington.

Russian authorities say they found a vape box containing cannabis oil in her luggage when she arrived in the country to play for a Russian team during the non-playing WNBA season.

She was sentenced to nine years in prison in August and last month, a Russian court upholds that sentence, which the basketball star’s defense attorney described as excessive.

In earlier proceedings, Griner said she had no intention of bringing the vape cartridges into Russia and that it was an “honest mistake” that they were in her pocket.

Since Griner’s arrest, relatives, teammate and supporters have called on the US government to do its best after the case to secure her release.

In September, Biden meets the Griner and Whelan families to update them on his administration’s efforts.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in July that Washington had made a “Substantial proposal” to Moscow to liberate the couple. Around that time, several US media outlets reported that the Biden administration had offered a prisoner exchange involving a Russian arms dealer jailed in the United States.

US officials said they continue to work with their Russian counterparts to ensure the release of the two Americans.

Despite the deteriorating relationship between Washington and Moscow, Russia in April freed Trevor Reed, a former US Marine. In return, the United States freed Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was serving a 20-year prison sentence in the United States on drug charges.

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