American basketball star Britney Griner was transferred to a Russian penal colony this week, leaving her family and legal team in the dark about her status and whereabouts.
new york times report Griner’s attorney said in a statement: [on Wednesday] Her whereabouts are unknown, and she will be notified by official email with the US Embassy when she arrives, a process that could take up to two weeks.
Griner, 32, has been in custody in Russia since being arrested on drug charges at a Moscow airport in February. Security officials found cannabis oil in her luggage, which Griner later said was an accident.
Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison by a Russian court in August, but the sentence was upheld when his appeal was dismissed last month.
Her transfer to a Russian penal colony marks another dark turn for Greiner, the star of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and widely regarded as one of the greatest women’s basketball players of all time.
according to Times, The penal colony is “notorious for its ill-treatment, overcrowding and hostile conditions of inmates.”
“Some prisoners are tortured or beaten by fellow prisoners. Some have to work 16 hours a day. Some have to watch Russian propaganda repeatedly. ” Times report. “This is the world of Russian penal colonies, and Britney Griner is about to take office for a nine-year term after her drug smuggling conviction was upheld last month.”
The move also makes an already difficult situation even more difficult for Greiner’s friends and family back home.
“Prisoners are typically not allowed to communicate with the outside world for a week or two while they are in transit, and lawyers and families do not know where prisoners are going. Knowing that a prisoner only once arrives, of Times Said.
Griner’s continued detention at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and Russia turned into a diplomatic stalemate.
The United States is seeking a prisoner exchange with Russia to secure the release of Griner and Paul Whelan, American citizens detained in Russia on espionage charges since 2018.
In exchange, the United States will release Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer who is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence in the United States.
Russia has so far resisted the offer.
U.S. Embassy officials in Moscow met with Griner for the first time since her detention last week.
White House Press Secretary Carine Jean-Pierre said last week after the meeting, “She is said to be doing as well as one would expect under the circumstances.” As quoted by new york times.
“As I said earlier, the U.S. government has made an important offer to the Russian people to resolve the unacceptable and unjust detention of current U.S. citizens Britney Griner and Paul Whelan,” Jean-Pierre added. rice field. Times“Also, in the weeks that followed, despite a lack of good faith negotiations by Russia, the United States government continued to follow up on the offer, seeking alternative ways of moving forward with Russia through all available channels.” I kept suggesting.
President Joe Biden said at a press conference Wednesday that he expects Russian President Vladimir Putin to return to the negotiating table now that the US midterm elections are complete.
“Now that the election is over, I hope Putin will talk to us and talk more seriously about prisoner swaps,” Biden said. According to ESPN quote.