“Racist & homophobic”, “Beatings & torture are common.” Brittney Griner will be ‘facing hell’ inside Russian penal colony, according to latest reports
Out US basketball star and two-time Olympic gold medallist Brittney Griner is currently serving her 9-year sentence for drugs charges in a Russian penal colony, having had her appeal rejected in October.
Musician Nadya Tolokonnikova, a founder of group Pussy Riot, spent two years inside a Russian penal colony, following a 2012 arrest, and said “beatings and torture” are common, calling the facility that Griner is being held in “the harshest colony in the whole Russian prison system”.
Tolokonnikova told MSNBC that IK-2 is a labor camp where prisoners are expected to work 16 hours a day, medical care hardly exists, and incarcerated people are expected to spend days sewing the police army and guard uniforms of their jailers.
She called them “slave-like” conditions.
However, Tolokonnikova told MSNBC that Griner is likely ‘hiding’ some of the oppression she is facing, based on her own experience of being told that “the whole colony would suffer” should she share any details of abuse.
Brittney Griner was transported to IK-2 Mordovia, the WORST penal colony in Russia.
– 16 hours work days
– prisoners sew uniforms for the Russian army and police & getting injured bc of the outdated equipment
– beatings x torture are common
– medical care practically not exist pic.twitter.com/GvXjAOFPAf
— 𝖕𝖚𝖘𝖘𝖞 𝖗𝖎𝖔𝖙💦 (@pussyrrriot) November 22, 2022
The basketball star was detained in February, after being arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport for being in possession of a small amount (less than a gram in two vape cartridges) of cannabis oil.
Griner, 31, admitted possessing cannabis oil, pleading guilty at her trial in July, but told the court she made an “honest mistake”.
“I’d like to plead guilty, your honor. But there was no intent. I didn’t want to break the law,” she told the court at the time.
On August 4, a Russian court convicted the athlete of smuggling and possessing narcotics and handed her close to the maximum sentence – which is ten years – recommended by prosecutors.
As Griner was being led out of the courtroom in handcuffs, sha could be seen mouthing: “I love my family.”
Today it’s Thanksgiving. Brittney Griner should be here celebrating and eating a delicious thanksgiving dinner with her family and friends. But, she’s been wrongfully detained for 280 days. It’s time to bring Brittney Griner and all wrongfully detained Americans home. 🙏 #WeAreBG pic.twitter.com/Jm0MxUVqUi
— Aya Abdeen (she/her) Free BG (@ayabdeen) November 24, 2022
Ahead of her sentencing in August, Griner sent a hand written letter to US President Joe Biden, saying “please don’t forget about me”
She wrote, “I miss my wife! I miss my family! I miss my teammates! It kills me to know they are suffering so much right now. I am grateful for whatever you can do at this moment to get me home”.
Please consider making an impactful purchase tomorrow on #GivingTuesday (11/29)! @Playa_Society will launch this design and donate proceeds to support @BOFHcampaign & @JamesFoleyFund. #WeAreBG #BringBGHome #BringThemHome #CyberMonday pic.twitter.com/A9GvlhW5Wa
— WNBPA (@TheWNBPA) November 28, 2022
“Our sister, Brittney Griner, is an American in peril in Russia”,the WNBPA tweeted in support of the athlete today (November 28).
“She needs the love and support of her country, sports governing bodies and every athlete on the planet to get released and home to her family. #WeAreBG #BringBGHome #BringThemHome”.
In August, US President Biden issued a statement, saying, “Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney.”
“It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”