U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner, going through 9 years behind bars in Russia after being convicted on drug fees, has been transferred to a penal colony about 500 km (300 miles) southeast of Moscow, her attorneys stated on Thursday.
Griner was sentenced in August following her arrest at a Moscow airport in February with vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her baggage. She was moved from a detention centre close to Moscow on Nov. 4 to be taken to an undisclosed jail location.
Her authorized workforce, confirming an earlier Reuters story, stated Griner had been taken to Feminine Penal Colony IK-2 within the city of Yavas within the Mordovia area.
“We are able to verify that Brittney started serving her sentence at IK-2 in Mordovia. We visited her early this week,” attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boikov stated in a press release.
“Brittney is doing in addition to could possibly be anticipated and attempting to remain robust as she adapts to a brand new surroundings,” they continued.
Mordovia is the area the place one other American, Paul Whelan, is serving a 16-year sentence in a special penal settlement after being convicted of espionage fees that he denies.
Requested about Griner’s case earlier than the assertion from the attorneys was issued, a U.S. State Division spokesperson stated: “We’re conscious of experiences of her location, and in frequent contact with Ms. Griner’s authorized workforce.
“Nonetheless, the Russian Federation has nonetheless failed to offer any official notification for such a transfer of a U.S. citizen, which we strongly protest.”
Inmates of Russian penal colonies are required to work lengthy hours for meagre pay on tedious guide duties corresponding to stitching. Former prisoners and human rights teams describe circumstances as harsh and unhygienic, with little entry to medical care.
Russia and the US have mentioned swapping Griner and Whelan, a former U.S. Marine, for a Russian arms supplier jailed in the US, however no deal has materialized amid heightened tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
At her trial, Griner – who performed basketball for a Russian workforce within the U.S. low season – stated she had used hashish for aid from sports activities accidents however had not meant to interrupt the regulation. She informed the court docket she made an sincere mistake by packing the cartridges in her baggage.
This content material seems as supplied to The Globe by the originating wire service. It has not been edited by Globe employees.