Brittney Griner is at Russia’s ‘harshest’ prison colony known for ‘slave-like conditions’ and ‘daily torture,’ a former inmate says

Brittney Griner.

Brittney Griner behind bars in Russia.Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool/Reuters

Brittney Griner’s expertise at a Russian penal colony is trying more and more bleak.

The WNBA celebrity was moved to female penal colony No. 2 — a facility in Russia’s Mordovia area that traces its roots to a Gulag labor camp dubbed Temlag — to serve a nine-year sentence for touring into Russia with vape cartridges containing less than a gram of cannabis oil.

Nadya Tolokonnikova, a member of the musical group “Pussy Riot” who famously spent two years in a Russian penal colony on “hooliganism” fees, says she’s “terrified” for Griner after studying about her placement.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

Nadya Tolokonnikova speaks to reporters.Sean Gallup/Getty

“I’m terrified that Brittney Griner was moved to IK-2,” Tolokonnikova told MSNBC. “It’s one of the harshest colonies — it is literally the harshest colony in the whole Russian prison system.”

“I was protesting terrible conditions in my penal colony,” she added, referring to the infamous IK-14 simply a few miles away. “But I know every single chief official who works at IK-2, and I know exactly what human rights abuses they perform on a daily basis and the kind of torture they use against prisoners.”

Tolokonnikova went on to explain “slave-like conditions” throughout the 820-woman capability facility in Yavas. Prisoners are anticipated to carry out guide labor — together with duties like cooking, cleansing, and stitching — for “up to 17 hours a day” with out breaks or days off.

Russian penal colony.

Prisoners collect outdoors a Russian penal colony.AP Photo/Yuri Tutov

Individuals like Griner are anticipated to satisfy output quotas which can be typically unreasonably excessive. And if they do not meet these requirements, Tolokonnikova says they will “be punished, and that includes torture — and that includes daily torture.”

“A lot of prisoners just cannot stand it and some of them decide to commit suicide,” she mentioned, including that “medical help is practically nonexistent. And, let’s say, you’re being tortured and go to prison doctors to document the fact that you’ve been tortured, obviously, they do not see anything and are not witnesses of your torture.

“What I’m actually afraid of is Brittney hiding the truth that she is being closely oppressed on this penal colony, as a result of that is what occurred with me,” Tolokonnikova continued. “I used to be informed that if I’m going to say to at least one single particular person about abuses, the entire penal colony is gonna undergo due to me. And I did not open my mouth for a 12 months.”

Nadya Tolokonnikova behind bars.

Tolokonnikova behind bars.REUTERS/Mikhail Voskresensky

Eventually, the then-24-year-old found the courage to speak out in the form of a hunger strike. Several of the high-ranking officials at her penal colony have since been tried and convicted of wrongdoing.

Now, some 10 years later, the musician advises that Griner take her incarceration “minute to minute since you by no means know if you’re gonna get attacked.”

“What provides me hope is that, usually, prisoners which have some media consideration, they are not getting tortured,” Tolokonnikova said. “I wasn’t bodily tortured. They used bodily pressure towards me, simply to maneuver me locations, however they did not beat me. They did not rape me. Unfortunately, rape occurs in IK-2 as properly.”

Brittney Griner.

Griner.Kirill Kudryavtsev/Pool via REUTERS

“What gave me power is understanding that it is gonna be completed at some level and at all times realizing that you’ve a degree of safety as a result of you’ve attorneys, you’ve media consideration — issues that different prisoners don’t have,” she added. “What I’d recommend to Brittney if I might [would be] to not work at the sweatshops. You may suppose for a second that if I’m gonna comply with the principles, then my life is gonna be higher, however in actual fact, these circumstances are horrific.”

According to Tolokonnikova, the sewing machines are “so outdated” that they inevitably result in injuries to prisoners. She described an instance in which the needle pierced her finger, leaving her “coated in blood” but still being forced to sew uniforms for police officers and Russian military officials.

And while the alternative of solitary confinement sounds even worse, Tolokonnikova insists that it’s actually “higher than engaged on a day by day foundation in these aggressive, slave-like labor circumstances.”

Her full interview with MSNBC is available below:

 

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