US WNBA basketball superstar Brittany Griner arrives for a hearing at Khimki Court outside Moscow on June 27, 2022.
Kirill Kudryavtsev | AFP | Getty Images
Brittany Griner, in a letter passed through her representatives to the White House, appeals to President Joe Biden that she fears she may never return home and is asking that she “don’t care about me and other American detainees”. will forget.”
Griner’s agent Lindsay Kagawa Kolas said the letter was delivered on Monday. The contents of most of the letter to President Biden remain private, although Griner’s representatives shared a few lines from the hand-written 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 accomplishment, I fear I may stay here forever, Griner wrote.
“On July 4, our family generally honors the service of those who fought for our freedom, including my father, who is a Vietnam War veteran,” the Phoenix Mercury Center said. “It hurts 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 when she was arrested on February 17 for possessing cannabis oil to play for her Russian team. The hearing will resume on Thursday.
Less than 1% of defendants in Russian criminal cases are acquitted, and unlike in US courts, acquittals can be overturned.
Griner urged Biden in the letter to use his powers to ensure his return.
Griner said, “Please do everything possible to bring us home. I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you. I believe in you. I still have to do so well with my freedom that you can restore it.” be able to help.” “I miss my wife! I miss my family! I miss my partners! It hurts me so much to know that they are suffering so much right now. Whatever you do at this time to bring me home I can, for that I am grateful.”
Griner is able to have sporadic communication with family, friends, and WNBA players through an email account set up by his agent. The emails are printed out and distributed in bunches by his lawyer to Griner after being investigated by Russian authorities. Once the attorneys are back in their office, they will scan any responses from Griner and send them back to the US to accompany them.
He was supposed to make a phone call with his wife on their anniversary, but it failed because of an “unfortunate mistake,” Biden administration officials said.
Griner’s supporters have encouraged a prisoner swap in April that brought home maritime veteran Trevor Reid in exchange for a Russian pilot convicted of a drug trafficking conspiracy. In May the State Department wrongfully detained him, overseeing his special presidential envoy for hostage affairs, effectively naming him as the government’s chief hostage negotiator.
Griner is not the only American who has been wrongfully detained in Russia. Former Marine and Security Director Paul Whelan is serving a 16-year sentence for espionage.