Speed Reads


Brittney Griner begins sentence in Russian penal colony

WNBA star Brittney Griner has been transferred to a Russian penal colony about 300 miles southeast of Moscow and has begun serving her sentence, Reuters and The Associated Press report Thurdsay, per Griner's lawyers.

Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport back in February after cannabis vape cartridges were found in her luggage. She was later convicted of drug smuggling and sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison, despite having maintained that she packed the cartridges accidentally. 

According to her lawyers, Griner has been taken to "Female Penal Colony IK-2 in the town of Yavas in the Mordovia region," Reuters writes. Notably, Mordovia is also where another jailed American — Paul Whelan — is serving his 16-year sentence for alleged espionage. The U.S. has been working through a possible prisoner exchange to secure the release of both Griner and Whelan.

"We can confirm that Brittney began serving her sentence at IK-2 in Mordovia. We visited her early this week," Griner's lawyers said in a statement. "Brittney is doing as well as could be expected and trying to stay strong as she adapts to a new environment."