Russia moves jailed U.S. basketballer to penal colony

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Jailed U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner is being moved from a Russian prison to a penal colony after she lost an appeal against a drug conviction.

According to her lawyers, Griner, 32, was arrested earlier this year and was convicted of smuggling and possessing cannabis oil at an airport near Moscow was transferred out of a detention centre on November 4.

She “is now on her way to a penal colony,” lawyers Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said in a statement.

“We do not have any information on her exact current location or her final destination,” they added.

Griner, a two-time Olympic basketball gold medallist and Women’s NBA champion, had been in Russia to play for the professional Yekaterinburg team during her off-season from the Phoenix Mercury Women’s National Basketball Association side.

She said the cannabis in vape cartridges was to treat pain from her sporting injuries, but Russia does not allow medical marijuana use.

Griner’s case has drawn outrage in the United States, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken seeking a deal with Russia to free her despite soaring tensions over Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine.

According to reports, the U.S. had offered Russia a prisoner swap in a bid to save Griner and another American, Paul Whelan, who was convicted to 16 years in prison over spying allegations in 2020.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reiterated that the United States had put forward a “substantial offer” to Russia to resolve her case.

 




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