Basketball star Brittney Griner started serving her sentence in a remote Russian penal colony, her lawyers said on Tuesday.
“Brittney began serving her sentence at IK-2 in Mordovia,” lawyers Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said in a statement.
“We visited her early this week. Brittney is doing as well as could be expected and trying to stay strong as she adapts to a new environment.” The two lawyers said in a statement.
Griner was handed a nine-year prison sentence in August for possessing vaporizer cartridges containing cannabis oil, which is illegal in Russia. She was arrested after landing at a Moscow airport.
Griner pleaded guilty to the charges but said she did not intend to break the law. She testified that had permission from a US doctor to use medicinal cannabis.
She was moved to a detention center near Moscow on November 4.
What do we know about the IK-2 penal colony?
The IK-2 penal colony is in the town of Yavas in the Republic of Mordovia, located in central Russia.
According to Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service, there are more than 800 inmates at the IK-2.
Retired US marine Paul Whelan, who was convicted of spying in 2020, is serving his 16-year prison sentence at the IK-17 colony, also located in Mordovia. Whelan’s family said that he has been mistreated at the facility and has undergone sleep deprivation.
Conditions in Russian penal colonies are harsher than in detention centers. Activists say abuse and torture are frequent in Russia’s prison network.
sdi/aw (AFP, Reuters)