Brittney Griner Transferred to Russian Labor Camp, Lawyers Say

Brittney Griner appears in court in Russia on June 27, 2022. (Credit: YouTube/WFAA)

Brittney Griner has been moved to a Russian penal colony, her lawyers told the Associated Press Wednesday.

The transfer came after a Russian court rejected the WNBA star’s appeal last month of her 9-year prison sentence for drug possession.

Griner’s legal team said she was transported from prison to a penal colony on Nov. 4. The attorneys were unsure of the exact location where she was taken, but said they would be notified once the transfer, which can take days, had been completed.

Related Story: Brittney Griner Loses Appeal, Ordered to Serve 9-Year Sentence in Russian Penal Colony

The White House issued a statement Wednesday in response to the news that Griner was being transferred to a penal colony.

“Every minute that Brittney Griner must endure wrongful detention in Russia is a minute too long,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

“As the Administration continues to work tirelessly to secure her release, the President has directed the Administration to prevail on her Russian captors to improve her treatment and the conditions she may be forced to endure in a penal colony,” she added. “As we have said before, the U.S. Government made a significant offer to the Russians to resolve the current unacceptable and wrongful detentions of American citizens.”

Griner was detained at Moscow Airport on Feb. 17, after Russian officials said they found vape cartridges with hashish oil in her luggage. She was in Russia to play during the off-season.

She pleaded guilty to drug possession in July and was sentenced on Aug. 4.

The New York Times previously reported Russian penal colonies, or forced labor camps, are “characterized by brutality, overcrowding and harsh conditions.”