The American sportswoman was released on Thursday in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. American media released the first images of his detention in Russia on Friday evening.
While the American basketball player was released on Thursday after spending a month in a Russian penal colony, footage of her detention in Mordovia, in central Russia, was broadcast by ESPN and CNN media.
The videos show her with a down jacket on her back and short hair, eating in a refectory or hard at work. In particular, according to the basketball player’s lawyer, quoted by the two media outlets, she decided to cut her hair without drying it so as not to suffer from the cold.
In the penal colony, women were engaged in sewing all day long. Brittney Griner, she would have been robbed of it because her fingers were considered too big for her size, ESPN explains.
His relatives are rather reassured
Brittney Griner’s lawyer also said her family expected the worst when the sportswoman was transferred to this colony after spending time in a relatively safe Moscow prison.
American, black and lesbian, the basketball player could indeed have been a target for other inmates or ill-meaning guards in this kind of environment, sometimes seen as the heir to the Soviet gulags.
According to the lawyer, who spoke to ESPN from Russia, someone was in charge of translating the colony’s rules into English so that the sportswoman could understand them. Although inmates can be placed in solitary confinement, the month Brittney Griner spent there seems to have gone relatively well, the media confirm once again.
The basketball player was released on Thursday in exchange for a Russian arms dealer, Viktor Bout, who had been imprisoned in the United States until now. She had been transferred to a penal colony in Russia in November to serve her nine-year sentence for “drug trafficking” after being arrested at a Moscow airport in February with a vape and liquid containing cannabis.