US basketball player Brittney Griner has begun a nine-year prison sentence for drug possession in a Russian prison, her lawyers and agent said.
Griner was transferred to a prison in Mordovia, about 210 miles east of Moscow, after a Russian court last month rejected his appeal.
His lawyers said they visited him earlier this week.
“Brittney is doing as well as we can hope and trying to stay strong as she adjusts to her new environment,” her lawyers said in a statement.
The all-star center with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and two-time Olympic gold medalist was arrested in February when agents said they found cans containing cannabis oil in her bag at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.
At his trial, Griner admitted that he had the cans in his bag but said he carried them recklessly to escape and had no intent to break the law.
His defense team filed claims that he was prescribed cannabis to treat excruciating pain.
The Biden administration has been trying for months to negotiate the release of Griner and another American detained in Russia, Michigan State Department of Defense Paul Whelan.
Whelan was also sent to prison in Mordovia after being convicted of espionage in 2020 and sentenced to 16 years in prison.