LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

Russia sends Brittney Griner to a penal colony

U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner, who was sentenced to nine years in a Russian penal colony in August for drug smuggling, is seen on a screen via a video link from a remand prison during a court hearing to consider an appeal against her sentence, at the Moscow regional court on Oct. 25.

MOSCOW — U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner has arrived in a prison colony in the Russian republic of Mordovia — 300 miles southeast of Moscow — to begin serving out a nine-year sentence on drug charges, her lawyers say.

The announcement by Griner's legal team Thursday was the first confirmation of the American's whereabouts since Russian authorities transferred her from a Moscow detention center nearly two weeks ago — a period of time typical for Russia's opaque prison transfer system.

Griner's attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov confirmed they had visited Griner at the IK-2 women's prison colony in the town of Yavas earlier this week.

"Brittney is doing as well as could be expected and trying to stay strong as she adapts to a new environment," said the lawyers in a statement released to the media.

"Considering this is a very challenging period for her, there will be no no further comments from us."

Last August, Griner was sentenced by a Russian court to nine years in a prison colony for carrying less than a gram of hash oil into Russia when she arrived for play in the Russian women's professional basketball league earlier this year.

In court, Griner admitted to mistakenly packing two vape cartridges in her rush to pack her luggage — but provided documents that showed the hash oil was legally prescribed by her U.S. doctor for pain management.

The U.S. government has labeled Griner "wrongfully detained" and continues to seek a prisoner swap with Russia involving Griner and another jailed American, former Marine Paul Whelan.

Whelan is serving out a 16-year sentence for espionage at separate prison colony in Mordovia.

Former inmates tell NPR that Russia's prison colonies are known for primative conditions and punishing work regimens rooted in the Soviet Union's gulag prison system.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)