US basketball star Brittney Griner moved to Russian penal colony

White House says treatment of Olympic gold medallist is unacceptable

Brittney Griner is escorted from a courtroom after a hearing just outside Moscow in August. AP Photo
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US basketball star Brittney Griner, who is being held in Russia, has been moved to a penal colony, her legal team said on Wednesday.

She was transferred from a detention centre in Iksha in the Moscow area on November 4, the statement said.

"She is now on her way to a penal colony. We do not have any information on her exact current location or her final destination,” it said.

Last month, a Russian court rejected Griner's appeal against her nine-year sentence for drug possession.

The White House described her treatment as unacceptable and again said it is working tirelessly to secure her release.

“Every minute that Brittney Griner must endure wrongful detention in Russia is a minute too long," said its press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Wednesday.

"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.

"As we have said before, the US government made a significant offer to the Russians to resolve the current unacceptable and wrongful detentions of American citizens."

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medallist, was convicted on August 4 after police said they found vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.

She admitted that she had the canisters in her luggage, but testified that she had inadvertently packed them in haste and that she had no criminal intent.

Her defence team presented written statements that she had been prescribed cannabis to treat pain.

Updated: November 09, 2022, 8:33 AM