The Move Her Family Dreaded Has Finally Happened

УГМК via Wikimedia

As we head toward’s Thanksgiving, Brittney Griner and her family probably aren’t feeling very thankful. Griner, who was detained in Russia back in February over drug smuggling charges, has been moved to a penal colony in Russia following her conviction and sentence of 9 years in prison.

Griner, a WNBA star, was traveling to Russia to play basketball there in the off season when she was detained at a Russian airport over drug possession. She pled guilty to the charges in hopes that the judge would go easy on her. She also wrote a letter to President Biden asking for his help getting her home.

The Biden administration has since tried to make a prisoner swap deal with Russia, and Griner’s lawyers appealed the court’s decision, but the appeal was rejected.

Last Friday, Griner was moved from a Moscow prison to a Russian penal colony, and her lawyers didn’t even know about the move until Tuesday. The exact location of the penal colony is unknown.

On Wednesday in a statement White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre explained, “Every minute that Brittney Griner must endure wrongful detention in Russia is a minute too long.” Jean-Pierre added, “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 also mentioned the prisoner swap attempt between the U.S. and Russia explaining that “the U.S. Government has continued to follow up on that offer and propose alternative potential ways forward with the Russians through all available channels.”

The statement continued, explaining that the U.S. is not giving up on getting Griner home. “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.”

Lindsay Kagawa Colas, Griner’s agent, also released a statement following the news of Griner’s move to a penal colony. Colas explained, “Our primary concern continues to be BG’s health and well-being. 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.” 

Colas explained that the U.S. is “using all available resources to determine her whereabouts, ensure her safety and bring her home.” Colas added, “We are thankful for everyone’s support, and hope that as we near nine months of detention, that BG and all wrongfully detained Americans will be shown mercy and returned home to their families for the holidays.”

Watch the video below for more about Griner’s move from a Moscow prison to a penal colony somewhere in Russia.

Do you think Griner will return to the U.S. before the holidays?