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National Black Justice Coalition on Russia Moving Brittney Griner to an Undisclosed Penal Colony
Statement from Dr. David J. Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, a leading Black LGBTQ+/SGL civil rights organization, on Russia moving Brittney Griner to an undisclosed penal colony:
“We are deeply concerned about the wellbeing of Brittney Griner and urge the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the U.S., the U.S. State Department, and the White House to do what’s required to bring Griner home to her family safely as soon as possible.
From the beginning, Russia targeted Brittney Griner intending to use her as a political weapon – leveraging the safety, well-being, and life of a Black same-gender loving woman against the United States and its allies. The Russian legal system turned a simple accidental possession of less than a gram of hashish oil into a nearly ten-year sentence suitable for significant drug smuggling. Russia has now chosen to send Griner to a penal colony without her family and lawyers’ knowledge, which is an escalation that no American should tolerate. Russia is the largest country in the world, bordering two continents, with 11 time zones spanning its width. Not knowing where Brittney Griner is or her safety and well-being conditions will prevent her attorneys and U.S. State Department staff from supporting her.
“Anti-American sentiment is high across Russia – a nation at war – and we are concerned for her physical and mental safety. We urge Dr. Anatoly I. Antonov, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the United States of America, to appeal to his leadership to pardon Brittney Griner or make a deal with the White House and the State Department.”