Brittney Griner sent to penal colony, whereabouts unknown

Brittney Griner sent to penal colony, whereabouts unknown

The two-time Olympic gold medalist, 32, was arrested in February trying to leave Russia, where she had played basketball in the WNBA offseason.

She testified in court that she used prescribed cannabis oil to treat pain from sports injuries but forgot the cartridges were in her luggage as she hastily packed for her trip.

US diplomats are under intense pressure to negotiate a prisoner swap for Griner and Paul Whelan, who was arrested in 2018 and accused of espionage.

Speaking to reporters at the White House after Tuesday’s midterm elections, President Joe Biden said there had been a number of discussions to secure Griner’s release.

“I am confident that now that our election is over, there is a willingness to negotiate with us in a more concrete way,” Biden said. “I am determined to bring her home and get her home safely.”

Supporters say Americans are being held as political pawns by the Kremlin amid the lingering aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We are grateful for everyone’s support and hope that BG and all wrongly imprisoned Americans will show mercy as they face nine months of imprisonment and return to their families over the holiday,” Colas said.