US basketball star Brittney Griner moved to Russian penal colony as legal team says they don’t know where WNBA player is

US basketball player Brittney Griner

Jailed US basketball star Brittney Griner has been moved to a penal colony in Russia, her legal team has said.

It comes after a Russian court rejected an appeal against her nine-year prison sentence for drug possession last month.

“Brittney was transferred from the detention centre in Iksha on 4 November. She is now on her way to a penal colony,” a statement from her legal team said.

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

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) player was arrested at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow on 17 February as she made her way back to Russia to play for UMMC Yekaterinburg, during the US WNBA off-season.

She was convicted on 4 August after police said they found vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage.

The US government says Griner, 32, was wrongfully detained.

It has offered to exchange her for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer serving a 25-year prison sentence in the US.

On Wednesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre issued a statement saying: “Every minute that Brittney Griner must endure wrongful detention in Russia is a minute too long.

“As the administration continues to work tirelessly to secure her release, the president has directed the administration to prevail on her Russian captors to improve her treatment and the conditions she may be forced to endure in a penal colony.

“As we have said before, the US government made a significant offer to the Russians to resolve the current unacceptable and wrongful detentions of American citizens.”

Griner, who was also a centre for WNBA Western Conference team Phoenix Mercury and is a two-time Olympic gold medallist, said she had made an “honest mistake” by entering Russia with cannabis oil – which is illegal in the country – and did not intend to break the law.

Her defence team presented written statements that she had been prescribed cannabis to treat pain.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *