Brittney Griner begins 9-year sentence in Mordovia penal colony, 350 miles from Moscow

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Brittney Griner's legal team confirmed Thursday that the Olympian has begun serving her sentence at the IK-2 penal colony in Mordovia, about 350 miles southeast of Moscow. brittneygriner wnba

Griner lost her appeal last month, and began transfer to the penal colony early last week. During her transport, Griner’s legal team in Russia, as well as her U.S.-based agency, said they were not informed of her whereabouts.

The Biden Administration — which has classified Griner as wrongfully detained and is trying to negotiate for her release — also was unaware of where Griner was last week. Griner, who turned 32 last month, was originally detained in February. She had been locked up at a Moscow detention facility until last week.

In a statement, Griner’s agent Lindsay Colas said of Griner,"despite the fact she is alone and now nearing her ninth month in detention separated from her loved ones, she is trying to stay strong." Another wrongfully detained American, Paul Whelan, is also serving time in a penal colony in the Mordovia area. Whelan, who has been imprisoned in Russia since December 2018, is serving a 16-year sentence after being found guilty of espionage, a charge he and his family have repeatedly denied.


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