Brittney Griner may go to a Russian penal colony. Here’s what you need to know.

U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner before the Russian court reached a verdict in her drug-smuggling case. (Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
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WNBA star Brittney Griner received a harsh 9½-year prison sentence Thursday in her trial on drug charges in Moscow, close to the maximum term possible.

The basketball star’s attorneys plan to appeal, as the Biden administration urges Moscow to accept a deal to free Griner and former security consultant Paul Whelan, an American serving a 16-year sentence in Russia. Washington has declined to say whether the two could be released in exchange for imprisoned Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

If diplomatic efforts or the appeal fail, Griner could be sent to a penal colony, a Russian prison facility known for brutal conditions.

Here’s what to know.

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