Brittney Griner is reportedly going to face harrowing and appalling living conditions along with strenuous workdays and other indignities as she transfers to a Russian prison colony.
Griner has been in Russian confinement since February 2022 when a police canine detected tiny traces of cannabis in her luggage after landing at an airport near Moscow. Griner was returning to the communist country to once again play professional basketball during the offseason from the WNBA.
In August, the Phoenix Mercury superstar center was found guilty and sentenced to nine years of hard labor in Russia. Months of diplomatic efforts to free Griner, or exchange her for Russian prisoners, have yielded unsatisfactory results thus far.
According to The Nation’s Dave Zurin, Russian prisoners are frequently treated like subhumans. Griner is expected to face racism, homophobia, almost nonexistent medical care, 16-hour workdays, brutal working conditions and living in practical squalor.
Worse, Griner could be subjected to “beatings and torture,” according to Russian musician Nadya Tolokonnikova, a founder of the feminist group Pussy Riot. She provided testimony to Zurin where she described her two years in a Russian prison as a living hell.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration informed the media on multiple occasions that the U.S. State Department is ceaselessly working diplomatic channels in order to secure Griner’s freedom