HomeSportsNew Details Surface on Harsh Conditions Brittney Griner Faces in Russian Penal Colony

New Details Surface on Harsh Conditions Brittney Griner Faces in Russian Penal Colony

by Dustin Schutte
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(Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

More details have emerged about the harsh and horrific conditions Brittney Griner will face in a Russian penal colony. The WNBA star faces homophobia, bigotry and 16-hour work days, according to a report from TMZ Sports.

Dave Zirn of The Nation said that prisoners in Mordovia are subjected to some of the worst treatment imaginable. “Beatings and torture” are commonplace and there’s very little medical care available.

Griner was transferred to a Russian penal colony in Mordovia in November. A court found her guilty on drug-related charges in August. She will serve a nine-year prison sentence unless the United States and Russia can agree to a prisoner exchange.

“Despite the fact she is alone and now nearing her ninth month in detention separated from her loved ones she is trying to stay strong,” Griner’s representatives said, per TMZ Sports.

In October, Griner appealed the court’s decision. The court denied her appeal, meaning she’ll have to serve out her sentence.

Brittney Griner Could Also Face Malnutrition in Prison

A former prisoner and his father recently described some of the harsh conditions Brittney Griner may face while in the Russian penal colony. Among the circumstances is malnutrition.

Joey Reed, the father of former Marine and Russian prisoner, Trevor Reed, described some of the situations his son faced while imprisoned. It painted an even uglier picture of the system in Russia.

“You gotta understand, the labor camps in Mordovia, these are pre-Stalin era prisons … literally referred to as gulags,” Joey said. “And even though there’s a federal authority for prisons, each warden has wide leeway to do whatever they want until it makes someone angry or leads to bad press.”

When describing the food, Joey told reporters that most of the meals included potato soup or fish with “crunchy bones.”

“There was no real health value to the food,” Joey said.

President Joe Biden has made it clear that U.S. officials are working hard to bring Griner back to her home country.

“My 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 prisoner exchange,” Biden said. 

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