“He is doing as well as could be expected and trying to stay strong as he adjusts to a new environment,” his lawyers said
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File photo of US basketball player Brittney Griner after the court verdict in Khimki, outside Moscow, Russia, on August 4, 2022 (REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina)
Basketball player Brittney Griner began serving her nine-year sentence for drug possession in a Russian penal colony, her lawyers and agent said Thursday.
Griner, a WNBA star, was transferred to a penal colony in Mordovia, about 350 kilometers (210 miles) east of Moscow, after a Russian court last month rejected the appeal of his sentence.
Brittney's lawyers said they visited her earlier this week.
“Brittney is doing as well as you'd expect, and trying to stay strong as she adjusts to a new environment,” their lawyers said in a statement.
File photo: Brittney Griner appears on A video connection from the detention center before a court hearing in Krasnogorsk, Moscow Region, on October 25, 2022 (REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina)
Phoenix Mercury center Griner and two A two-time Olympic champion, she wasarrested in February, when Russian customs agents found containers of e-cigarette liquid containing cannabis oil inside his luggage, upon arrival at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport.
At his trial, Griner admitted that he was carrying the containers in his luggage, but he testified that he had packed them by mistake, in a hurry to catch his flight, and not with the intention of committing a crime.
His legal team submitted written statements to certify that The athlete had been prescribed cannabis to treat chronic pain.
She was convicted in August and sentenced to nine years in prison.
< img class="aligncenter" src="/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/american-basketball-player-brittney-griner-began-to-pay-her-9-year-sentence-in-a- Russian-penal-colony-52dc66b.jpg" alt="American basketball player Brittney Griner began serving her 9-year sentence in a Russian penal colony" />
File photo of Griner at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)
The government of US President Joe Biden has spent months trying to negotiate the release of Griner and another American imprisoned in Russia, the Michigan corporate security executive Paul Whelan, including through a possible prisoner exchange with Moscow. Whelan was also sent to a penal colony in Mordovia after being convicted of espionage-related charges in 2020 and sentenced to 16 years in prison.
Biden told reporters last week that He hopes that Russian President Vladimir Putin will be more willing to negotiate Griner's release now that the US midterm elections have ended. “My hope is that now that the elections are over, Mr. Putin can discuss with us and is willing to talk more seriously about a prisoner exchange,” Biden said.
By Erick Tucker (AP)