American basketball player Brittney Griner, who confessed and was convicted on drug smuggling charges in Russia, was transferred to a penal colony to serve out her nine year sentence.
Tim Ogden writes at Unherd: Organised into work brigades and subjected to the violent whims of sadistic military guards, the day-to-day lives of the inmates are punctuated only by malnourishment, corporal punishment and death. The penal colony is a place where the authorities can act with impunity, free to torture prisoners in the hope of extracting a false confession.
According to Griner’s lawyers, Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov, who represent the WNBA star, Griner was moved from a detention center in Moscow Region, where she had been held since being detained, on November 4. “She is now on her way to a penal colony.” “We do not have any information on her exact current location or her final destination,” they added.
Griner’s lawyers also noted that they and the US embassy in Russia should be formally notified of her whereabouts when she arrives at the facility.
Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport on February 17 when cannabis oil was found in her luggage. In early August, she was sentenced to nine years in prison on drug charges. Griner pleaded guilty, explaining that she had no intention of breaking any laws and packed the cartridges containing the oil “accidentally.”
While US President Joe Biden has described Griner as “wrongfully detained,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has insisted that if a US citizen was detained in Russia for drug smuggling, and she doesn’t deny it, “then this should be commensurate with Russian, local laws.”