Brittney Griner, who was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison on drug possession charges, is going through hell as she awaits a possible prisoner trade that will free her.
Griner was in Russia to compete during the WNBA offseason when Russian authorities said she had vape canisters with cannabis oil inside her luggage while traveling through an airport in Moscow in February. She has been detained ever since.
The Biden administration reportedly talked about a potential prisoner swap to free her and another American held in a Russian jail, but so far, Russia is not responding back to their trade offers.
In the meantime, she is being treated horribly while locked up.
According to the Daily Mail:
“Brittney Griner doubts whether or not she will ever be allowed to return home to the US as the 6-foot-9 WNBA star spends the vast majority of her days inside of tiny cell with two other prisoners.
U.S. citizen Griner, 31, a two-time Olympic basketball gold medalist, was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison on Aug. 4 after pleading guilty to drug charges.
She insisted she inadvertently broke the law when she traveled with vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage. Griner is scheduled to appeal her sentence on October 25.
Now her lawyer, Alexandr D. Boykov said in an interview with the New York Times that his client is struggling in prison.
Her cellmates at Correctional Colony No.1 or IK-1, a pre-trial detention center, are both English speakers who are also in jail on drug charges. Prison rules dictate that inmates are only allowed to shower twice a week. It is located around an hour from Moscow.
The building is a former children’s orphanage that was converted into a prison around 2012. There are 1,248 prisoners in the facility. It features a sewing factory that employees more than 400 inmates and a Russian Orthodox church.
In the prison courtyard, where Griner is afforded her only chance to get fresh air once a day, there is a statue of Vladimir Lenin, one of the founders of the Soviet Union.
In July, the Times referred to the prison as having ‘gray painted halls and grim tall walls.’
Russia’s penal institutions house nearly 520,000 inmates, by far the largest number in Europe. A little under 50,000 of these prisoners are women.
He said that Griner is forced to sleep in a bed that has been modified to accommodate her height.
Her attorney continued: ‘She is not yet absolutely convinced that America will be able to take her home. She is very worried about what the price of that will be, and she is afraid that she will have to serve the whole sentence here in Russia.’
He described the prison as being too cold in the winter and too warm in the summer.”
Griner’s lawyer, Alexandr D. Boykov said he spoke with her Tuesday and said she is far from hopeful.
“She is not yet absolutely convinced that America will be able to take her home,” Boykov said in an interview with the New York Times. “She is very worried about what the price of that will be, and she is afraid that she will have to serve the whole sentence here in Russia.”
Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison. Her appeal, which the U.S. has called “another sham judicial proceeding,” has been scheduled for Oct. 25.
U.S. authorities have said they are continuing to work to arrange for Griner’s release and have previously designated her as “wrongfully detained.”
Griner is an eight-time All-Star and a two-time Olympic gold medalist.