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Breaking: WNBA Player Brittney Griner’s Lawyer Reveals Devastating News To The Former Athletes’ Fans And Family

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Disclaimer:  This article may contain the personal views and opinions of the author.

If Brittney Griner thought life was bad already, it’s about to get worse. 

The WNBA player received a nine and half year sentence earlier this year for possessing a vape pen containing cannabis at the Moscow airport. 

Griner was there to play in the Russian Premier League during the WNBA offseason but ended up in a Russian prison instead. 

A Russian appeals court denied Griner’s appeal of the nine-and-a-half-year sentence. Griner will serve in a penal colony unless the U.S. government can negotiate a deal for her release.

After the denial, Griner’s hope is running out. She’s concerned that she’ll have to serve her sentence in a different prison that has more “miserable” conditions, a reality that would terrify anyone. 

Russian political activist, Maria Alyokhina, spent close to two years as an inmate in a Russian penal colony and describes it as “no ordinary prison.” 

“This is not a building with cells. This looks like a strange village, like a Gulag labor camp,” she said. 

The assistant editor of New Europe reports that the Russian correctional system “the spirit of Stalinist oppression [ ] has survived in modern Russia, with penal colonies constituting an integral part of the country’s correctional system.”

He says that the “corrective labour colonies” are the most common type of prison where inmates are isolated, punished for minor infractions, and forced into hard labor.

Alyokhina elaborated saying, “It actually is a labor camp because by law all the prisoners should work. The quite cynical thing about this work is that prisoners usually sew police uniforms and uniforms for the Russian army, almost without salary.”

According to Alyokhina, the penal colony has two sections. One area is the factory where the prisoners made the garments and the other is a “living zone.” 

The living zone is where as many as 80 women live in one room with three toilets and no hot water. 

Griner may be facing such conditions if she is transferred to one such colony. Her only hope now is an agreement between the two governments involved to swap her for a Russian arms dealer being held in a U.S. jail. 

Griner’s Russian lawyer, Alexandr D. Boykov, said in an interview, “She has not been in as good condition as I could sometimes find her in. She is not yet absolutely convinced that America will be able to take her home. She is very worried about what the price of that [a prisoner exchange] will be, and she is afraid that she will have to serve the whole sentence here in Russia.”

Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, met with President Biden last month to discuss the situation. Cherelle came out of the meeting feeling that the White House was doing everything possible to get Brittney back to the U.S. 

Russia has confirmed that it is in negotiations to trade Griner for Viktor Bout, known as the “Merchant of Death,” who has been imprisoned in the U.S. since 2010.

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