Through her representatives, WNBA player Brittney Griner, who is currently facing drug-related accusations in Russia, has written to Joe Biden requesting his assistance in securing her release and extradition from that country, saying she feared she might never return home and asking that he not “forget about me and the other American Detainees.”
Griner, who is accused of bringing hashish-containing vape cartridges into the country, could spend up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.
Lindsay Kagawa Colas, the agent for Griner, reported that the letter was delivered on Monday. Although Griner’s representatives revealed a few lines from the handwritten note, the majority of the letter’s contents to President Biden remain hidden.
Here’s what Griner, Phoenix Mercury center, wrote:
“…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,” 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 Vietnam War Veteran. It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.”
The two-time Olympic gold winner is currently on trial in Russia after being detained on February 17 on suspicion of carrying cannabis oil while returning to play for her country’s squad. The trial officially started last week. On Thursday, the trial will continue.
Since Griner’s arrest Biden has made no direct statement regarding the matter.
Less than 1% of defendants in criminal cases in Russia are found not guilty, and unlike in American courts, acquittals can be overturned.
Cherelle, Griner’s wife, claimed on Tuesday morning that since the letter was delivered to the White House, she has not had any direct communication with President Biden. “I still have not heard from him and honestly, it’s very disheartening,” Cherelle Griner said on CBS Mornings.
She was supposed to have a phone call with her wife but it failed because of an “unfortunate mistake,” by Biden administration officials. She eventually discovered that the phone Griner had kept dialing at the US Embassy in Moscow had been unanswered,
“I find it unacceptable and I have zero trust in our government right now. If I can’t trust you to catch a Saturday call outside of business hours, how can I trust you to actually be negotiating on my wife’s behalf to come home? Because that’s a much bigger ask than to catch a Saturday call.”
Not only Griner but other Americans are being held wrongfully in Russia. Former Marine and security director Paul Whelan is currently serving a 16-year term for espionage.
The fact remains that Griner is an American citizen and it is the government’s obligation to work all possible angles toward winning her freedom and her return to this country, but in the Biden Administration? Well, there’s a lot more to say.
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