After being detained in Russia for reportedly possessing cannabis oil over nine months ago, WNBA star Brittney Griner has now been transferred to a Russian labor camp where she is being forced to perform manual labor.
This is the most recent piece of information to emerge after Griner’s appeal of her nine-year sentence was rejected by a Russian court a month ago. Early on Wednesday morning, the White House issued a statement in which they expressed their disapproval of the action.
“Every minute that Brittney Griner must endure wrongful detention in Russia is a minute too long,” Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House Press Secretary, said in the statement.
“As the Administration continues to work tirelessly to secure her release, the President has directed the Administration to prevail on her Russian captors to improve her treatment and the conditions she may be forced to endure in a penal colony,” the statement continued.
“The U.S. Government is unwavering in its commitment to its work on behalf of Brittney and other Americans detained in Russia – including fellow wrongful detainee Paul Whelan,” Jean-Pierre concluded.
It will be difficult for Griner’s family to communicate with her or even find out where she is while she is held captive at the forced labor camp. She will be subjected to severe conditions.
According to Lindsay Colas, Griner’s representative, the team that Brittney Griner is on is in constant communication with the United States government as well as the Richardson Center, which is an organization that fights to free American prisoners.
“Our primary concern continues to be BG’s [Brittney Griner’s] health and well-being,” Lindsay Colas said on Wednesday.
“As we work through this very difficult phase of not knowing exactly where BG is or how she is doing, we ask for the public’s support in continuing to write letters and express their love and care for her,” Griner’s agent added.
When Russian police discovered cannabis oil in Griner’s luggage in February, she was in the country to compete in the WNBA offseason tournament being held there. She was taken into custody almost immediately for being in possession of the vape cartridges, and she was ultimately given a sentence of nine years in prison for the crime.
A message expressing gratitude to Griner’s fans was sent by her management on the occasion of her 32nd birthday last month.
“Thank you everyone for fighting so hard to get me home. All the support and love are definitely helping me,” Griner said from prison.