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Human Rights

U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner transferred to Russian penal colony 

“We do not have any information on her exact current location or her final destination,” said her attorneys

November 9, 2022 8:57am

Updated: November 21, 2022 4:15pm

U.S. women’s basketball player Brittney Griner is being transferred to a Russian penal colony, where she will serve her nine-year sentence for alleged drug smuggling, her attorneys said. 

“We do not have any information on her exact current location or her final destination,” said her attorneys, Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov. “In accordance with the standard Russian procedure, the attorneys, as well as the US Embassy, should be notified upon her arrival at her destination. Notification is given via official mail and normally takes up to two weeks to be received.”

“Our primary concern continues to be BG’s health and well-being,” her agent Lindsay Colas said. “As we work through this very difficult phase of not knowing exactly where BG is or how she is doing, we ask for the public’s support in continuing to write letters and express their love and care for her.”

Griner, 32, was detained and convicted in February after she was caught with cannabis vape cartridges in her luggage at Sheremetyevo International Airport. 

The WNBA Phoenix Mercury player pleaded guilty to the charges in July but said that she did not intend to break the law and made an “honest mistake.”

The two-time Olympic gold medalist was sentenced to nine and a half years in prison and was ordered to pay a fine of a million rubles, or $16,400. Last month, Griner lost her appeal against the nine-year drug sentence. 

U.S. officials consider that Russia wrongfully detained Griner and that the court proceedings against her were a sham. 

“Every minute that Brittney Griner must endure wrongful detention in Russia is a minute too long,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Wednesday, adding that the Biden administration “continues to work tirelessly to secure her release.”