Brittney Griner taken to penal colony in Mordovia region in Russia: Report

Brittney Griner
A policeman removes the handcuffs from WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner in a courtroom prior to a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 27, 2022. American basketball star Brittney Griner returned Wednesday to a Russian courtroom for her drawn-out trial on drug charges that could bring her 10 years in prison of convicted. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool) Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

Brittney Griner taken to penal colony in Mordovia region in Russia: Report

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Brittney Griner, an American the U.S. government deems wrongfully detained by Russia, has been taken to a penal colony in the Russian region of Mordovia, Reuters reported.

Griner, a WNBA superstar who has been in Russian custody since mid-February when she was arrested. She ended up pleading guilty to bringing vape cartridges that contained very minimal amounts of cannabis oil. She is now at Female Penal Colony IK-2 in Yavas, which is about 300 miles southeast of Moscow.

BRITTNEY GRINER’S APPEAL DENIED BY RUSSIAN COURT

“We are aware of reports of her location, and [are] in frequent contact with Ms. Griner’s legal team. However, 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 embassy has continued to press for more information about her transfer and current location,” a State Department spokesperson told the Washington Examiner.

Vedant Patel, principal deputy State Department spokesman, told reporters on Tuesday that the department is “aware of [Griner’s] location and are in frequent contact with Ms. Griner’s legal team.”

Another American considered by the U.S. government wrongfully detained by the Russian government, Paul Whelan, is also serving his 16-year prison sentence in Mordovia, though at a different penal colony. Whelan, a former U.S. marine accused of espionage, has vehemently denied the allegations against him.

The State Department revealed in July that the administration had made a “substantial proposal” to get them home following public pressure. The administration declined to provide details of the suggested swap, but it’s been widely reported that it included the release of convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who has been nicknamed the “Merchant of Death” for selling arms to sanctioned human rights abusers in various African nations.

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There is no indication that their return is imminent.

Griner, who had played women’s professional basketball in Russia during the WNBA’s offseason, was sentenced on Aug. 4 to nine years in prison, one shy of the maximum sentence, and a Russian appeals court upheld the ruling in late October.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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