The nine-year prison sentence given to U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner on Thursday sparked outrage among many in the U.S., including social media users, the NBA and U.S. President Joe Biden who called the verdict “unacceptable” and demanded that Russia “immediately” release her.
Griner was found in possession of vape cartridges containing cannabis oil at a Moscow airport in February, the same month Russia invaded Ukraine. Her lawyers plan to appeal the court’s decision in an effort to bring her back home to the U.S., but for now she is slated to serve her sentence in a penal colony.
The penal colonies, which include barracks surrounded by barbed-wire fencing, developed from the often-deadly forced-labor camps under former Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin to today’s model in which prisoners do lighter labor such as sewing military uniforms instead of mining.
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