Brittney Griner begins sentence in distant Russian penal colony | Brittney Griner

Basketball star Brittney Griner has been despatched to a distant Russian penal colony to start out serving her sentence, her legal professionals have stated.

“Brittney started serving her sentence at IK-2 in Mordovia,” legal professionals Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov stated in an announcement.

“We visited her early this week. Brittney is doing in addition to might be anticipated and attempting to remain sturdy as she adapts to a brand new atmosphere.”

The US athlete was handed 9 years in jail in August for possessing vape cartridges with a small amount of hashish oil, after she was arrested at a Moscow airport in February.

The 32-year-old’s case got here amid fierce tensions between Moscow and Washington over Russia’s navy offensive in Ukraine.

Griner’s agent, Lindsay Colas, stated: “Regardless of the very fact she is alone and now nearing her ninth month in detention separated from her family members, she is attempting to remain sturdy.”

Colas additionally expressed her because of the administration of Joe Biden who final week pledged to safe Griner’s return. “I’m telling you I’m decided to get her residence and get her residence safely,” the US president stated.

The IK-2 penal colony is within the city of Yavas within the central area of Mordovia recognized for its harsh local weather.

The IK stands for a “corrective colony”, the most typical sort of jail in Russia.

In keeping with Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service, the IK-2 homes greater than 800 inmates who dwell in barracks.

Mordovia can also be residence to the IK-17 colony the place Paul Whelan, a retired US marine, is serving time after he was convicted of spying and sentenced to 16 years in 2020.

His household says he has been mistreated and undergone sleep deprivation there.

Russian penal colonies are recognized for his or her harsh remedy of inmates, unsanitary situations and lack of entry to correct healthcare.

Situations in penal colonies are a lot harsher than in detention centres.

Activists say abuse and torture are frequent in Russia’s huge community of prisons, a successor to the infamous Gulag system of the Stalin period.

When Griner was arrested, the two-time Olympic basketball gold medallist and Girls’s NBA champion had been in Russia to play for the skilled Yekaterinburg crew, throughout her low season from the Phoenix Mercury.

She pleaded responsible to the costs, however stated she didn’t intend to interrupt the legislation or use the banned substance in Russia.

Griner had testified that she had permission from a US physician to make use of medicinal hashish to alleviate ache from her many accidents, and had by no means failed a drug check.

The usage of medical marijuana shouldn’t be allowed in Russia.