Brittney Griner called on President Joe Biden in a letter sent to the White House through his representatives, saying she feared he would never come home and asking him not to “forget about me and the other American detainees.”
Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, said the letter was delivered Monday. Most of the content of the letter to President Biden remains private, although Griner’s representatives did share a few lines of the handwritten note.
″…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 achievement, I am terrified that I will be here forever.” Griner wrote.
“On the 4th of July, our family normally honors the service of those who fought for our freedom, including my father, who is a veteran of the Vietnam War,” the Phoenix Mercury Center added. “It pains me to think about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.”
The two-time Olympic gold medalist is in the middle of a trial in Russia that began last week after she was arrested on February 17 on cannabis oil possession charges while returning to play for her Russian team. The trial will resume on Thursday.
Fewer than 1% of defendants in Russian criminal cases are acquitted, and unlike in American courts, acquittals can be overturned.
Griner pleaded with Biden in the letter to use his powers to secure his return.
“Please do everything you can to get us home. I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you. I believe in you. I still have a lot to do with my freedom that you can help restore,” Griner said. “I miss my wife! I miss my family! I miss my colleagues! It kills me to know that they are suffering so much right now. I am grateful for anything you can do at this time to get me home.”
Griner has been able have sporadic communications with family, friends, and WNBA players through an email account created by your agent. The emails are printed and delivered in bunches to Griner by his lawyer after Russian officials review them. Once the attorneys return to their office, they will scan Griner’s responses and send them to the US for mailing.
she was supposed to have a phone call with his wife on their anniversary but failed due to an “unfortunate mistake”, Biden administration officials.
Griner’s supporters have encouraged a prisoner swap like the one in April that brought home Navy veteran Trevor Reed in exchange for a Russian pilot convicted of drug conspiracy. In May, the State Department designated her as wrongfully detained, moving her case to the supervision of its special presidential envoy for hostage affairs, effectively the government’s top hostage negotiator.
Griner is not the only American wrongfully detained in Russia. Paul Whelan, former Navy and security director, is serving a 16-year sentence for an espionage conviction.
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