Brittney Griner Has Been Transferred To A Penal Colony In Russia’s Mordovia Region

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In a statement made to the press, the detained WNBA star’s lawyers Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said that Griner “is doing as well as could be expected and trying to stay strong as she adapts to a new environment.”

Brittney Griner has been moved to a Russian penal colony in the region of Mordovia according to her legal team.

In a statement made to the press, the detained WNBA star’s lawyers Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said that Griner “is doing as well as could be expected and trying to stay strong as she adapts to a new environment.”

Prior to Thursday’s announcement, it was known that Griner was being transferred to a penal colony but the exact location remained a mystery. 

Griner had been detained in Russia in February on drug charges. She was subsequently found guilty by a Russian court this summer and sentenced to nine and a half years in prison. During her trial, she testified that she had not been informed of her rights at the time of her arrest. 

However, despite the charges, the U.S. State Department in May classified Griner as “wrongfully detained.” 

CNN reports that the State Department is in contact with Griner’s legal team, and is aware of her transfer to the penal colony in Mordovia. According to a statement released by the department, “the Russian Federation has still failed to provide any official notification for such a move of a U.S. citizen, which we strongly protest.”

The statement continued, “The Embassy has continued to press for more information about her transfer and current location.” 

Griner is being held in the IK-2 women’s prisoner colony in the town of Yavas, roughly 300 miles southeast of Moscow. 

Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine and American detained in Russia on charges of espionage, is also being held in Mordovia, although in a different penal colony. 

Such colonies, which are the remnants of Stalin-era gulags, are known for their notoriously harsh conditions, where prisoners can be subjected to forced labor, abuse, and torture.


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