Brittney Griner Being Moved To Penal Colony Used For Exiling Prisoners

Brittney Griner, who has now been in a Russian jail for close to a year, is being transferred to a penal colony, her lawyers said Wednesday.

They don’t know where Griner will go, which is usually the case in these situations. And they said in a statement that that they expect to be notified through official mail, along with the U.S. Embassy, once Griner’s arrived.

That process can sometimes take up to two weeks.

Penal colonies are also known as ‘exile colonies,’ and are used for just that – cutting off prisoners from the outside world. They are usually some sort of settlement that is completely separate them from the general population, and can often be an island or distant colonial territory.

They’re also notorious for abusive treatment of inmates and tend to be overcrowded with miserable conditions.

Brittney Griner moved to penal colony.
Brittney Griner sits inside a defendants’ cage after the court’s verdict during a hearing in Khimki outside Moscow. (Photo by EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA / POOL / AFP) (Photo by EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Brittney Griner saga takes another turn

Wednesday’s news comes nearly a week after the US Embassy confirmed that they had met with the Phoenix Mercury center for the first time in nearly nine months after she was first arrested for smuggling drugs into Russia.

Griner, 32, was arrested at Sheremetyevo International Airport, located near Moscow, on Feb. 17 for carrying a vape cartridge containing THC oils.

In their efforts to connect with and retrieve the eight-time WNBA All-Star, the Biden administration has made “significant” offers to the Russian government, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in the wake of last week’s development.

At one point, the administration offered up deadly Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in a prisoner swap for Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan (who’s been under Russian detainment since Dec. 2018).

“We are told she’s doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances,” Jean-Pierre added.

Officials on both sides have so far signaled that negotiations are ongoing and Griner’s fate would ultimately be decided based on what deal (if any) they strike.

Russian officials have also indicated that any prisoner swap couldn’t truly begin until the legal process was complete.

It appears those negotiations may now resume because Griner’s transfer to a penal colony was potentially the finally legal procedure, signaling the official beginning of her sentence.

Written by Zach Dean

Zach grew up in Florida, lives in Florida, and will never leave Florida ... for obvious reasons. He's a reigning fantasy football league champion, knows everything there is to know about NASCAR, and once passed out (briefly!) during a lap around Daytona. He swears they were going 200 mph even though they clearly were not.

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