Months after the basketball player was arrested in Russia for allegedly possessing cannabis oil, WNBA star Brittney Griner has been moved to a Russian forced labor camp. After Griner’s appeal of her 9-year sentence was denied by a Russian court last month, this development is the latest update on her case. Condemning the move, the White House released a statement. Here is what White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in the statement: “Every minute that Brittney Griner must endure wrongful detention in Russia is a minute too long.”
The statement continued: “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.”
NY Post further reported that the statement was then concluded by Jean-Pierre, saying: “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.”
Harsh conditions are awaiting Griner in the forced labor camp, and it will be difficult for her family to contact her or even know her exact location. Russian authorities found cannabis oil in her luggage when Griner was visiting Russia to compete in the WNBA offseason in February. For possessing the vape cartridges she was promptly arrested and she was later sentenced to nine years in prison.
Her representatives released a statement on Griner’s 32nd birthday last month, thanking her supporters. According to the statement, this is what Griner said from prison: “Thank you everyone for fighting so hard to get me home. All the support and love are definitely helping me.”
There appears to be no significant progress, as the U.S. government engaged in prisoner swap talks with Russia. Tense relations over the Russo-Ukrainian War have impacted the negotiations, “Putin’s Playbook” author Rebekah Koffler told Fox News. Last month, the intelligence expert said: “This is another case that demonstrates that Americans are not safe in Russia, especially Americans of Russian descent and especially now when the relations between Moscow and Washington are at the lowest point in history, including the Cold War.”