The terrible fate of Brittney Griner: the Russians send her to the IK-2 penal colony in Mordovia

The life of Brittney Griner, one of the most successful and admired champions on the planet, has become an endless nightmare: Russia has communicated the fate of her transfer to serve her 9-year prison sentence. The 32-year-old American was held at hard labor in the terrible penal colony IK-2 in Mordovia.

By Paulo Fiorenza

the nightmare of Brittney Griner came true: the 32-year-old American basketball champion, one of the strongest players on the planet, was transferred from Moscow by Russian authorities to serve a 9-year prison sentence handed down for drug trafficking “with criminal intent”πŸ‡§πŸ‡· Griner wasn’t sent to a normal prison, but to one of the dreaded ones – due to the terrible living conditions inside – penal colonies of the Russian prison system.

The two-time Olympic and world champion, WNBA champion with the Phoenix Mercury, was arrested last February – shortly before the Russian invasion of Ukraine – at Moscow airport after a search of her luggage found some canisters of cannabis oil vaporizing. Griner, as she had been doing since 2014, had gone to Russia to play the winter season with the jersey of Ekaterinburg-the Urals team of an oligarch aligned with Putin-taking advantage of the fact that the WNBA championship takes place in the summer. , when the NBA is still.

A decision that cost him dearly, as the Russians seized the opportunity to turn the player into a purely political pawn to play in the renewed cold war with the United States, imposing an absurd sentence on her last August in a trial in which she was obviously defended by local lawyers. The appeal closed at the end of October confirmed the 9-year prison sentence and increased pressure on the Biden government, much urged by American public opinion to release Griner, it was decided to serve the sentence in a penal colony, or forced labor in a place that is difficult even to imagine due to the inhumane conditions in which prisoners are foundπŸ‡§πŸ‡·

Brittney Griner handcuffed in court during trial
Brittney Griner handcuffed in court during trial

On November 4, the transfer process began for the player, transferred from a detention center near Moscow to an unknown location in Russia. Only now came the revelation about the final destination: Brittney Griner was taken to the IK-2 penal colony in Yavas, Mordovia, about 500 kilometers southeast of Moscow.πŸ‡§πŸ‡· The player hoped until the end that one of the high-profile prisoner exchanges that had been foreseen in the behind-the-scenes dialogues between Russia and the United States, with the inclusion of the notorious ‘merchant of death’ Viktor Bout, would go through. the Russian arms dealer who is serving a 25-year prison sentence in the US.

But there was nothing to be done, Putin wants to maximize the political use of the Griner case, obviously not caring about the drama of a person who from one day to the next sees his life turn into a bottomless pit. Russian penal colonies are prison labor camps that are essentially remnants of the Gulag system of the Soviet Union. There are 35 for women across Russia, the IK-2 in Mordovia has a capacity of 820 inmates and has its roots in a Gulag called Temlag. Here the player could be forced to work up to 16 hours a day, in precarious hygiene conditions, limitations in the use of water and heating, overcrowding and the spread of infectious diseases.πŸ‡§πŸ‡· Indeed, AIDS, tuberculosis and, in recent years, Covid are common in Russian penal colonies.

Brittney Griner in action with the Phoenix Mercury jersey in the WNBA
Brittney Griner in action with the Phoenix Mercury jersey in the WNBA

A dire scenario in which Griner will now need to call on all her resources to not be overwhelmed. πŸ‡§πŸ‡·I can confirm that our Russian legal team saw Brittney at the IK-2 penal colony in Mordovia – said the player’s agent, Lindsay Colas – Despite being alone and now approaching her ninth month of detention separated from her loved ones, she is trying to stay strong.“. He really needs it.

Source: Fan Page IT