WNBPA Releases Statement on Brittney Griner’s Transfer to Russian Penal Colony

by Dustin Schutte

The WNBA Players Association released a statement after learning that Brittney Griner has been transferred to a Russian penal colony. News broke of the situation on Wednesday morning.

“We stand with Brittney Griner and will continue to call on all Americans and the global sports community to do the same with more vigilance,” the statement said. “We are crushed that this scary, seemingly never-ending nightmare continues. The lack of clarity and transparency in the process compounds the pain.”

According to the Daily Mail, the Griner faces harsh, life-threatening conditions within this penal colony. Former prisoners have talked about a “slavery-like” atmosphere.

In October, a report discussed the horrible conditions Griner faces in the penal colony.

“Conditions in prisons and detention centers varied but were often harsh and life threatening,” a report on Russian human rights abuses said. “Overcrowding, abuse by guards and inmates, limited access to health care, food shortages, and inadequate sanitation were common in prisons, penal colonies, and other detention facilities.”

A Russian court sentenced Griner to a nine-year prison sentence for drug possession in August. The WNBA star has been detained in the country since February.

American Leaders Detest Brittney Griner’s Punishment

Several American leaders voiced support of Brittney Griner on Wednesday. While government officials continue their efforts to bring her back to U.S. soil, no agreement has been reached with Russia.

“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 U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, via ESPN. “It is another injustice layered on her ongoing unjust and wrongful detention.”

Blinken has worked with Russian officials for months in an effort to bring Griner, as well as U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, back to the country.

In addition to Blinken’s statement, U.S. Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also sent out a tweet.

“Every minute that Brittney Griner must endure wrongful detention in Russia is a minute too long,” she said.