Brittney Griner moved to Russian penal colony: WNBA star jailed for drug offenses

Russia is moving detained US basketball star Brittney Griner to a penal colony, his lawyers said, attracting a strong reprimand from the White House.

Griner, convicted of possessing a small amount of cannabis oil, was moved out of a detention center on Friday, her legal team said.

“He is now on his way to a penal colony,” lawyers Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said in a statement.

They said Russia generally sends prisoner transformation notifications by post, taking up to two weeks.

“We have no information on its exact current location or its final destination,” they said.

Griner’s case sparked outrage in the United States, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken turning to Russia to propose a deal to free it despite mounting tensions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reiterated that the United States has made a “substantial offer” to Russia to solve her case.

“Every minute Brittney Griner has to undergo unlawful detention in Russia is one minute too long,” Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

“While the administration continues to work tirelessly to secure her release, the president has ordered the administration to prevail over her Russian captors to improve her treatment and the conditions she might be forced to endure in a penal colony.”

Griner, a two-time Olympic basketball gold medalist and NBA women’s champion, had been to Russia to play for the Yekaterinburg professional team during their off-season for the Phoenix Mercury WNBA team.

He said the cannabis in vape cartridges was to heal the pain of his sports injuries, but Russia doesn’t allow the use of medical marijuana.

Reports have suggested that Griner and another American incarcerated in Russia, Paul Whelan – a retired US Marine arrested in December 2018 and charged with espionage – could be mistaken for Viktor Bout, a famous Russian arms dealer who is serving 25 years in prison. prison with a 2012 conviction

Originally released as jailed US basketball star Brittney Griner is transferred to a Russian penal colony