Jailed US basketball star Brittney Griner is being moved from a Russian prison to a penal colony. Check out why she moved to penal Colony.
Brittney Griner : Why moved to penal colony | Petition
A Moscow appeals court upheld American basketball star Britney Griner’s nine-year sentence on drug smuggling charges — a decision that in effect sends Griner to serve out her term in a Russian prison colony, even as Moscow and Washington appear set to reengage in talks for a possible prisoner swap that could see her released much sooner.
Griner observed Tuesday’s hearing by video feed from a prison cell in a women’s detention center outside Moscow, relying on a court-appointed interpreter to follow the proceedings.
“Can she see you?” one of three judges on the panel asked the interpreter in the courtroom, who then addressed Griner on a TV screen overhead.
“Are you wearing a white shirt and a black jacket?” responded Griner, squinting back through cell bars at the screen in front of her.
Brittney Griner why moved to penal colony
Brittney Griner is being transported to one of Russia’s notorious penal colonies, according to a statement made Wednesday by her attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov.
The pair said they do not know her exact whereabouts and they will only be notified, alongside the U.S Embassy, once she arrives. This process could take up to two weeks. For now, Griner is unreachable.
The 32-year-old U.S basketball titan and Olympic gold medalist was sentenced to nine years in a penal colony after she was arrested at a Moscow airport on Feb. 17 for possession of two vape cartridges containing cannabis oil.
Griner pleaded guilty to what she called an “honest mistake” and was convicted in August but her appeal against the sentence was denied in October.
U.S. officials met Griner last week, and White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said she was doing “as well as can be expected under the circumstances.”
On Wednesday, Jean-Pierre issued a statement that the administration is working “tirelessly” to secure her release through a potential prisoner exchange, and called on Russia to improve the conditions she will be subjected to.
This uncertainty is a deliberate part of the punishment process, says postdoctoral researcher Olga Zeveleva, whose work at the University of Helsinki is focused on the construction of race and ethnicity in Russian prisons.
On February 17, 2022, WNBA superstar Brittney Griner was detained upon her arrival in Moscow. As of April 29, 2022, Griner was officially classified as a Wrongful Detention by the U.S. State Department, which signals that the U.S. government will seek to negotiate her release.
Griner is a beloved global citizen who has used her platform since her entry into the WNBA to help others.
She was detained while working in Russia, where she has starred for Russian EuroLeague Club UMMC Ekaterinburg since 2016 – helping the team win four EuroLeague Women’s championships and seven Russian League championships.
Like many athletes competing in the WNBA, Griner – a two-time Olympic gold medalist – plays abroad during the WNBA offseason for the love of the sport, but also in exchange for substantially bigger contracts, which are not available to women’s basketball players in the U.S. Professional athletes never know when their careers will come to an end.
They must compete today with tomorrow’s financial security in mind. For more than half of the athletes in the WNBA, that means moving abroad for several months of the year.
Pay inequity has led to Brittney Griner’s wrongful detention in Russia. Furthermore, as a decorated Olympian and member of an elite global sport community, Brittney’s detention must be resolved out of respect for the safety of all athletes traveling to compete internationally and the sanctity of sport.
It is imperative that the U.S. government immediately address this human rights issue and do whatever is necessary to return Brittney home quickly and safely.
The WNBPA and its members proudly join Tamryn Spruill, who launched this petition on March 5, in demanding that lawmakers prioritize Griner’s return.