U.S. Press Secretary Issues Strong Statement After Brittney Griner’s Transfer to Russian Penal Colony

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

United States Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre is the latest government official to voice her frustration over the Brittney Griner situation. She fired off a tweet in anger on Wednesday, hours after news broke about the WNBA star’s transfer to a Russian penal colony.

“Every minute that Brittney Griner must endure wrongful detention in Russia is a minute too long,” Jean-Pierre wrote. “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.”

Per a report from the Daily Mail, Griner faces “harsh circumstances” within the penal colony. One former prisoner compared it to “slavery-like conditions.”

A Russian court sentenced Griner to nine years in prison for drug possession in August.

U.S. Secretary of State Releases Statement on Brittney Griner

Multiple government officials expressed frustration of Griner’s transfer to a Russian penal colony on Wednesday. Prior to Jean-Pierre’s tweet, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken also voiced concerns.

“Following a sham trial and the unjust sentencing of Brittney Griner, Moscow is transferring her from a prison in Moscow to a remote penal colony,” said Blinken, via ESPN. “It is another injustice layered on her ongoing unjust and wrongful detention.”

News of Griner’s transfer comes two weeks after a court in Russia denied her appeal. Unless the United States intervenes, the WNBA star will serve a nine-year prison sentence on the drug-related charge.

Blinken stated in the past that he continues to work hard to bring Griner back to the country. So far, he’s had no luck striking a deal with Russia.