What is a penal colony? | Jailed Brittney Griner transferred

The president spoke hours after Griner’s attorneys revealed that she had been sent to a penal colony to serve her sentence for drug possession.

MOSCOW, Russia — President Joe Biden said Wednesday that he hopes Russian President Vladimir Putin will be more willing to negotiate for the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner once the US midterm elections are over.

“My hope is that now that the election is over, Mr. Putin will be able to talk with us and be ready to talk more seriously about the prisoner exchange,” Biden told reporters at a press conference. Press Conference.

He said hours after Griner’s attorney revealed she had been sent to a penal colony to serve her sentence for drug possession.

American officials for months have been trying to negotiate the release of Griner and another American imprisoned in Russia, Paul Whelan. But there is no clear sign of progress.

A diplomatic resolution has been given new urgency after a Russian court rejected an appeal against her nine-year prison sentence last month. The eight-time all-star center with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and two-time Olympic gold medalist was sentenced August 4 after police said they found a vape box containing cannabis oil in her luggage at the stadium. Moscow’s Sheremetyevo flight.

Her arrest comes at a time of heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington, just days before Russia sends troops into Ukraine, and the case is political in nature that could lead to a prisoner exchange between Washington and Moscow.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said: “Every minute that Brittney Griner has to endure wrongful detention in Russia is a minute too long. “As we have said before, the US Government has made an important offer to the Russians to address the current unacceptable detentions of US citizens.”

Griner’s legal team said she left a detention center outside Moscow on November 4 for a penal colony – as prisons in Russia are commonly known. The move was expected because she lost the lawsuit.

Such a transfer can take days or even weeks, during which time lawyers and loved ones are often out of contact with the prisoner. Even after her arrival, reaching Griner can be difficult because many of the penal colonies are located in remote parts of Russia.

Her lawyers said Wednesday they don’t know exactly where she is or where she will end up – but they expect to be notified when she arrives at her final destination.

In a statement highlighting work is being done to secure Griner’s release, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed that Russian authorities allowed the embassy regular access to Griner, upon request. their. Officials at the US Embassy in Moscow visited Griner last week.

A senior State Department official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case, said the Russians had not informed US diplomats about the transfer. of Griner ahead of time and has not yet responded to questions from the US embassy about either person. current residence or final destination.

In many penal colonies, prisoners worked for minimum wage, and dissidents and other nations denounced the conditions of those incarcerated. Detained Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has gone on a hunger strike to protest his treatment, including officials’ refusal to give him the right drugs and allow doctors to visit him behind bars. .

He also objected to the hourly checks a guard made on him at night, saying they considered sleep deprivation torture.

Griner, 32, who was detained on returning to play for a Russian team during the WNBA’s season, has admitted that she has the case in her luggage. But she testified that she accidentally packed them in a hurry and that she did not intend to commit the crime. Her defense team presented written statements that she was prescribed cannabis to treat pain.

The Associated Press and other news organizations have reported that Washington has offered to exchange Griner and Whelan – an American serving 16 years in Russia for espionage – for Viktor Bout. Bout is a Russian arms dealer who is serving a 25-year sentence in the US and was once nicknamed “the merchant of death”.

What is a penal colony?

According to World Prison Brief, Russia has more than 600 correctional colonies spread across the country, according to World Prison Brief, a database that provides information on prisons around the world.

The punitive colonies in Russia are forced labor camps with the style of dormitory barracks, often associated with brutality and harsh conditions, the New York Times reported. Russia’s history with labor camps dates back to the days of Stalin, when notorious bullies were typical forms of punishment.

A 2021 human rights report by the US State Department revealed the problems of Russian facilities ranging from food shortages to overcrowding and lack of hygiene. Cases of abuse and torture were also included in the report.

“Critical human rights issues include credible reports of: extrajudicial homicides and extrajudicial homicide attempts, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gay and heterosexual in Chechnya by local authorities,” the report revealed.

Most of the penal colonies were isolated from cities, many of them dotted around Siberia like back alleys.

Some inmates worked 16-hour days and others were forced to watch propaganda on repeat, the New York Times reported. In 2021, famous prisoner and Russian opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny said in an interview that inmates have five daily screen sessions to watch Russian TV and propaganda films.

“You need to imagine something like a Chinese labor camp, where people march in rows and video cameras are hung everywhere,” he told the Times in 2021.

https://www.king5.com/article/news/nation-world/brittney-griner-moved-to-russian-penal-colony/507-ae72df08-d47a-4f7b-b15b-0742df9d72f8 What is a penal colony? | Jailed Brittney Griner transferred

Edmund DeMarche

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