American basketball star Greiner begins serving time in a Russian penal colony

American basketball star Brittney Griner was despatched to a distant Russian penal colony and served her nine-year sentence for drug possession, her legal professionals and legal professional stated on Thursday.

Griner was taken to a penal colony in Mordovia, about 350 kilometers (210 miles) east of Moscow.

“Britney 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. Britney is doing nicely as you’ll be able to count on and attempting to remain sturdy as she adjusts to a brand new surroundings.”

Greiner was sentenced to 9 years in jail in August for possession of digital cigarette cartridges with a small quantity of hashish oil, after she was arrested at a Moscow airport in February.

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

Circumstances in penal colonies are harsher than prisons, and Mordovia is identical area the place one other American, Paul Whelan, is serving a 16-year sentence in a unique felony settlement after being discovered responsible on espionage fees he denies.

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

IK stands for “correctional colony,” and it is the most typical sort of jail in Russia.

In response to Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service, IK-2 has greater than 800 inmates residing in barracks.

Inmates of Russian penal colonies are required to work lengthy hours for pennies on tedious guide duties reminiscent of stitching. Ex-prisoners and human rights teams describe circumstances there as harsh and unhealthy

Circumstances in penal colonies are additionally a lot harsher than in detention centres.

Activists say abuse and torture are rife in Russia’s huge jail community, which is the successor to Stalin’s notorious Gulag system.

When Griner was arrested, the two-time Olympic basketball gold medalist and Ladies’s Nationwide Basketball Affiliation champion was in Russia to play for the Yekaterinburg skilled staff, throughout her low season from the Phoenix Mercury.

In her expertise, Griner — who performed basketball for a Russian staff in america within the offseason — stated she used hashish to alleviate sports activities accidents however didn’t imply to interrupt the regulation or use the substance banned in Russia. She instructed the courtroom that she made an trustworthy mistake by packing the cartridges in her bag.

Medical marijuana will not be allowed in Russia.

Russia and america mentioned swapping Greiner and Whelan for a Russian arms supplier imprisoned in america, however no settlement was reached amid rising tensions between the 2 international locations.

( Jowharwith AFP, The Related Press and Reuters)

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