IT GETS WORSE: Brittney Griner Receives More Bad News As Russia Announces Harsh New Conditions For The WNBA Star
Disclaimer: This article may contain the personal views and opinions of the author.
WNBA basketball player Brittney Griner’s year has gone from bad to worse.
She is in a Russian jail after being convicted of possession of drugs. The drugs were found in her bag at a Russian airport early this year.
The basketball player was there to play in the Russian Premier League during the WNBA offseason.
Griner’s lawyers announced on Wednesday that their client is being transferred to a penal colony somewhere in Russia. Her attorneys said they have no information on her exact location or her final destination.
Brittney and her family had hoped the Biden administration could negotiate a deal for her release before the transfer to the penal colony, known for extremely harsh conditions.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken weighed in on the news of Griner’s transfer saying, “another injustice layered on her ongoing unjust and wrongful detention.”
He then appealed to Russian officials with a statement directed at them.
“As we work to secure Brittney Griner’s release, we expect Russian authorities to provide our Embassy officials with regular access to all U.S. citizens detained in Russia, including Brittney, as is their obligation,” Blinken said.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre took to Twitter to offer the Biden administration’s take on the situation.
“Every minute that Brittney Griner must endure wrongful detention in Russia is a minute too long.”
She elaborated on what they’re doing to help.
She said, “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.”
Jean-Pierre alluded that the Russians are not trustworthy in their intent to negotiate with the American government.
“In the subsequent weeks, despite a lack of good faith negotiation by the Russians, the U.S. Government has continued to follow up on that offer and propose alternative potential ways forward with the Russians through all available channels.”
The press secretary stressed the administration’s effort to work on behalf of Griner and others who are detained in Russia.
“The U.S. Government is unwavering in its commitment to its work on behalf of Brittney and other Americans detained in Russia — including fellow wrongful detainee Paul Whelan.”
Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, also issued a statement and a plea for help from the public.
“Our primary concern continues to be BG’s health and well-being. As we work through this very difficult phase of not knowing exactly where BG is or how she is doing, we ask for the public’s support in continuing to write letters and express their love and care for her.”
No matter how you feel about whether or not Griner’s punishment is just, it has brought to light other Americans who are “wrongfully detained” in Russia.
Let’s hope the U.S. government can secure the release of those who truly don’t belong there.