Things have gone from bad to even worse for Brittney Griner.
The WNBA star has been moved to a Russian forced labor camp, nearly nine months after the basketball player was arrested in Russia for allegedly possessing cannabis oil.
What makes this move so much worse is that Griner will face harsh conditions in the forced labor camp, and it will be difficult for her family to contact her or even know her exact location.
“Our primary concern continues to be BG’s [Brittney Griner’s] health and well-being,” Lindsay Colas said on Wednesday.
“As we work through this very difficult phase of not knowing exactly where BG is or how she is doing, we ask for the public’s support in continuing to write letters and express their love and care for her,” Griner’s agent added.
Griner, who celebrated her 32nd birthday while in prison, was visiting Russia to compete in the WBNA offseason in February when Russian authorities found cannabis oil in her luggage. She was promptly arrested for possessing the vape cartridges and was later sentenced to nine years in prison.
The U.S. government has engaged in prisoner swap talks with Russia, but there appears to be no significant progress. The White House released a statement early Wednesday morning condemning the move.
“Every minute that Brittney Griner must endure wrongful detention in Russia is a minute too long,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in the statement.
“As the Administration continues to work tirelessly to secure her release, the President has directed the Administration to prevail on her Russian captors to improve her treatment and the conditions she may be forced to endure in a penal colony,” the statement continued.
“The U.S. Government is unwavering in its commitment to its work on behalf of Brittney and other Americans detained in Russia – including fellow wrongful detainee Paul Whelan,” Jean-Pierre concluded.
The U.S. is believed to have offered convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in a 2-for-1 deal for Griner and fellow American prisoner Paul Whelan, but Russia apparently wants more back in the trade.
At this point, all we can do is pray for Griner.