Brittney Griner should be back on American soil.
Instead, the WNBA player reportedly works 16-hour days at a harsh Russian penal colony. TMZ reports she’s facing “horrific” conditions, including racism and homophobia. Inmates reportedly aren’t treated like humans, with little access to medical care.
The report also says inmates must sew uniforms for the police and the guards. Musician Nadya Tolokonnikova, a founder of the feminist group Pussy Riot, spent two years at a Russian penal colony and described it to be “like hell,” where “beatings and torture” are common, according to the report. BG’s team says she’s “doing as well as could be expected” and is trying to stay strong.
Since February 17, Brittney has been detained in Russia. She’s currently serving her nine-year sentence. Brittney admitted she mistakenly packed the vape cartridges in her luggage. Her defense argued she was prescribed cannabis for pain.
On August 4, she was found guilty of drug charges and sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison. On August 15, Brittney’s defense team filed an appeal, arguing that her sentence was excessive. The US government deemed Brittney “wrongfully detained” and offered a prison swap in exchange for her release.
NPR reports, “Washington has offered to free Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer who is serving a 25-year sentence in the US and once earned the nickname the ‘Merchant of Death.’ The Guardian reports Brittney’s release isn’t a “priority” for Russia.
Earlier in October, Joe Biden said he didn’t have any “intentions” of meeting up with Putin, but would meet to discuss Brittney. Russia is “hopeful” to do a prisoner swap.
We’ll keep you updated as details become available.