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Report: Griner Moved to Penal Colony in Russia’s Mordovia Region

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Report: Griner Moved to Penal Colony in Russia’s Mordovia Region

She was sentenced to nine years in a penal colony by a Russian court in August.

Basketball star Brittney Griner has been moved to a penal colony in Russia’s Mordovia region, according to a report from Reuters.

Griner’s penal colony, known as Female Penal Colony IK-2 is in Yavas, Russia, is located about 300 miles southeast of Moscow, per Reuters. A U.S. State Department spokesperson told Reuters they were “aware of reports of her location, and in frequent contact with [Griner’s] legal team.”

Penal colonies in Russia are where convicted felons are required to work long hours for little pay on menial tasks. The conditions are often very poor and are described as harsh and unhygienic.

Griner was sentenced to nine years in a penal colony by a Russian court in August after she was found guilty on drug charges stemming from a February arrest at an airport near Moscow. The arrest was made after vape cartridges containing cannabis oil were found in her luggage.

The United States and Russia have reportedly discussed a prisoner swap where the Americans would receive Griner and former U.S. marine Paul Whelan, who was convicted of espionage in a Russian court and sentenced to 16 years in a penal colony. Like Griner, Whelan is serving his sentence in the Mordovia region.

The prisoner swap would require the U.S. to send Russia back convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout. While discussions have been held between the U.S. and Russia, there is no indication that a deal is close to materializing.

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