After her appeal on marijuana possession charges was denied last month, Brittney Griner has been moved to the Russian penal colony where she is expected to serve the rest of her eight-year sentence.
Griner’s transfer began on Friday — but her attorneys, family, and U.S. officials were not notified of the transfer until Tuesday, and have no idea of her current whereabouts or final destination.
The WNBA star’s attorneys said that a transfer generally takes weeks or months after a denied appeal. They will be informed when she arrives at her final location by official mail — a notification that could take up to two weeks to be received.
“Every minute that Brittney Griner must endure wrongful detention in Russia is a minute too long,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement early Wednesday. “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.”
Russian penal colonies — the descendants of Soviet-era gulags — are notorious for their poor conditions and prisoner abuse, per Axios.
There have been few updates on how or when the American government may work out a deal to free Griner. Diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Russia are strained amidst the latter’s invasion of Ukraine and the former’s financial support for the defenders.