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bitchy | Brittney Griner’s lawyers do not know her ‘current location or her final destination’


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A couple of weeks ago, Brittney Griner’s appeal was denied, with the appeals court upholding the original sentence of nine years in a Russian penal colony. At the time, her lawyers said that any move was likely to take a while. It didn’t take long. Brittney is currently being transferred to a penal colony. Neither her lawyers nor US embassy officials have been notified of her current location or her final destination. Only Russian officials know and, according to the Associated Press, they did not even notify the US embassy of Brittney’s transfer ahead of time and haven’t responded to any inquiries.

Brittney Griner is being transferred to a penal colony in Russia where she is set to begin her nine-year sentence for carrying cannabis oil into the country.

The U.S. women’s basketball star, 32, was sentenced last month after being arrested in February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on “drug smuggling charges”. President Biden had been trying to negotiate a deal to get Griner back on U.S. soil, saying she had been “wrongfully detained,” but was denied, though the White House has continued to pursue efforts.

Griner “is now on her way to a penal colony,” Griner’s attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said in a statement on Wednesday. “We do not have any information on her exact current location or her final destination.”

“In accordance with the standard Russian procedure, the attorneys, as well as the U.S. Embassy, should be notified upon her arrival at her destination. Notification is given via official mail and normally takes up to two weeks to be received.”

In a statement to PEOPLE following Griner’s initial sentencing in August, her attorneys voiced that the verdict was “absolutely unreasonable” and said they will “certainly file an appeal.”

However, after the appeal was rejected in October, Griner’s lawyers told PEOPLE that she is “a very strong person” and “has a champion’s character.”

[From People]

US embassy officials met with Brittney last Thursday, November 3, and said she was doing “as well as can be expected under the circumstances.” On Friday the 4th, Brittney was moved from the detention center and is on her way to a penal colony somewhere in Russia. According to USA TODAY, the transfer can take several weeks and only when she reaches her destination will her lawyers be notified by snail mail, which will take another two weeks. The article adds: “The family of [Paul] Whelan, another American who is currently wrongfully detained by Russia, previously [said] that during transport, Griner would be placed in a small, windowless railroad car with no information about her destination. She will have no communication with her legal team, U.S. officials or her family. ‘They disappear off the face of the earth.’” USA TODAY has a detailed breakdown, including information about what life is like in Russian penal colonies.

Various Biden administration officials have released statements about Brittney’s wrongful detention, unjust transfer, and treatment. They also reiterated their commitment to bringing her home. At a press conference about the midterms, President Biden said he is “determined to get her home” and that his “hope is that now that the election is over, that Mr. Putin will be able to discuss with us and be willing to talk more seriously about a prisoner exchange.” Brittney’s agent also put out a statement, but her family declined to do so. They’re obviously heartbroken and scared of what might happen. This is a horrible situation and based on what I’ve read about penal colonies, I really hope something is done soon.

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