American basketball star Brittney Griner appeals to Pres. Biden for her release
WNBA star Brittney Griner has sent a handwritten letter to President Joe Biden to appeal for her release from detainment by Russian authorities.
Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner has sent a handwritten letter to President Joe Biden appealing for help in securing her release from Russia, where she has been detained since February on drug charges.
Griner was taken into custody at Sheremetyevo International Airport near Moscow after authorities said they found hashish oil in her belongings.
Russian customs officials claim that the basketball player was involved in a criminal case of “large-scale transportation of drugs”, which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. She was in the country to play for her Russian team when she was arrested.
Brittney Griner’s trial to resume this week
Her trial began last week and will resume on Thursday. The proceedings are believed to be part of a Russian strategy to use her to achieve a prisoner exchange. A Russian court extended her detention for six months as she awaits the result of her trial.
According to representatives of the 31-year-old, she was afraid there would be no end to her detention.
“As I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey, or any accomplishments, I’m terrified I might be here forever,” said an excerpt of her letter.
“I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other American detainees. Please do all you can to bring us home,” she urged the president.
“I am grateful for whatever you can do at this moment to get me home.”
Brittney Griner: ‘Wrongfully detained’
In April, the eight-time WNBA All-Star’s arrest was classified by the U.S. government as “wrongful detainment”, which gives the United States more leeway in negotiations for her release.
Griner has been able to communicate with her wife Cherelle Griner, her family, and other loved ones in emails that are monitored by Russian officials.