WNBA star Brittney Griner transferred to Russian forced labor camp

WNBA star Brittney Griner has switched to a russian forced labor camp, almost nine months after the basketball player was arrested in Russia for alleged possession of cannabis oil.

The development is the latest update following Griner’s appeal from her 9-year sentence was rejected by a Russian court last month. The White House released a statement early Wednesday morning condemning the move.

“Every minute Brittney Griner has to be unlawfully detained in Russia is a minute too long,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in the statement.

“While the government works tirelessly to secure her release, the President has directed the government to persuade her Russian captors to improve her treatment and the conditions she may endure in a penal colony,” the statement continued .

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FILE - WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted out of a courtroom in Khimki, just outside Moscow, Russia, after a hearing on August 4, 2022.

FILE – WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted out of a courtroom in Khimki, just outside Moscow, Russia, after a hearing on August 4, 2022.
(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

“The US government remains steadfast in its work on behalf of Brittney and other Americans imprisoned in Russia – including fellow wrongfully imprisoned Paul Whelan,” concluded Jean-Pierre.

Griner will face harsh conditions in the forced labor camp, and it will be difficult for her family to contact her or even know her exact whereabouts. According to her agent, Lindsay Colas, Griner’s team is in close contact with the US government and the Richardson Center, an organization that works to free American prisoners.

“Our main concern remains that of BG [Brittney Griner’s] health and well-being,” Lindsay Colas said on Wednesday.

“As we work through this very difficult period where we do not know exactly where BG is or how she is doing, we are asking for the public’s support to continue writing letters and expressing their love and care for her,” added Griner’s agent .

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WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner holds pictures in a cage in a courtroom for a hearing in Khimki, just outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday August 4, 2022.

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner holds pictures in a cage in a courtroom for a hearing in Khimki, just outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday August 4, 2022.
(Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool Photo via AP)

Griner was visiting Russia to attend the WBNA offseason in February when Russian authorities found cannabis oil in her luggage. She was promptly arrested for possessing the vape cartridges and later sentenced to nine years in prison.

On Griner’s 32nd birthday last month, her representatives released a statement thanking her supporters.

“Thank you to everyone who fought so hard to bring me home. All the support and love is definitely helping me,” Griner said, according to a statement from prison.

The US government has started prisoner swap talks with Russia, but there doesn’t appear to be any significant progress. Author of “Putin’s Playbook”. Rebekah Kofler told Fox News that strained relations over the Russo-Ukrainian war had affected negotiations.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington.
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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“This is another case that shows Americans are not safe in Russia, especially Americans of Russian descent and especially now when relations between Moscow and Washington are at the lowest point in history, including the Cold War,” the intelligence expert said recently Month .

Ryan Gaydos and Anders Hagstrom of Reuters and Fox News contributed to this report.

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