Griner sends letter to President Biden pleading for his help




  • In Politics
  • 2022-07-04 21:31:47Z
  • By Associated Press

Brittney Griner has made an appeal to President Joe Biden in a letter passed to the White House through her representatives saying she feared she might never return home and asking that he not " forget about me and the other American Detainees."

Griner's agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas said the letter was delivered on Monday. Most of the letter's contents to President Biden remain private, though 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 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," the Phoenix Mercury center added. "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 medalist is in the midst of a trial in Russia that began last week after she was arrested on Feb. 17 on charges of possessing cannabis oil while returning to play for her Russian team. The trial will resume Thursday.

Fewer than 1% of defendants in Russian criminal cases are acquitted, and unlike in U.S. courts, acquittals can be overturned.

The White House National Security Council confirmed the White House has received Griner's letter.

"We believe the Russian Federation is wrongfully detaining Brittney Griner," NSC spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said on Monday. "President Biden has been clear about the need to see all U.S. nationals who are held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad released, including Brittney Griner. The U.S. government continues to work aggressively - using every available means - to bring her home."

Griner pleaded with Biden in the letter to use his powers to ensure her return.

"Please do all you can to bring us home. I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you. I believe in you. I still have so much good to do with my freedom that you can help restore," Griner said "I miss my wife! I miss my family! I miss my teammates! It kills me to know they are suffering so much right now. I am grateful for whatever you can do at this moment to get me home."

Griner has been able to have sporadic communications with family, friends and WNBA players through an email account her agent set up. The emails are printed out and delivered in bunches to Griner by her lawyer after they are vetted by Russian officials. Once the lawyers get back to their office, they'll scan any responses from Griner and pass them back to the U.S. to send along.

She was supposed to have a phone call with her wife on their anniversary but it failed because of an "unfortunate mistake," Biden administration officials.

Griner's supporters have encouraged a prisoner swap like the one in April that brought home Marine veteran Trevor Reed in exchange for a Russian pilot convicted of drug trafficking conspiracy. The State Department in May designated her as wrongfully detained, moving her case under the supervision of its special presidential envoy for hostage affairs, effectively the government's chief hostage negotiator.

Griner isn't the only American being wrongfully detained in Russia. Paul Whelan, a former Marine and security director is serving a 16-year sentence on an espionage conviction.

___

Associated Press writer Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report."

___

To see more stories on Griner: https://apnews.com/hub/brittney-griner

COMMENTS

More Related News

US Congress Forces Joe Biden Toward Risky Faceoff With China Over Taiwan
US Congress Forces Joe Biden Toward Risky Faceoff With China Over Taiwan

(Bloomberg) -- US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Taiwan trip was only the most high-profile in a series of moves by Congress that are forcing President Joe...

Trump should announce run for 2024 soon to avoid indictment, source says
Trump should announce run for 2024 soon to avoid indictment, source says

Source close to Donald Trump suggested the justice department would find it trickier to prosecute a presidential candidate

Groups: Don
Groups: Don't block nomination of Latino judge Jorge Alberto Rodriguez

Hispanics groups urge U.S. District Judge David Hurd not to block Pres. Biden's historic nomination of Jorge Alberto Rodriguez as a district judge in upstate...

In Wisconsin, 2 Huge Races Stand Between GOP and Near-Total Power
In Wisconsin, 2 Huge Races Stand Between GOP and Near-Total Power

KAUKAUNA, Wis. - Nowhere in the country have Republican lawmakers been more aggressive in their attempts to seize a partisan edge than in Wisconsin. Having...

Ukrainian war hero-pilot dies in battle; WNBA star Brittney Griner appeals drug sentence: Live Ukraine updates
Ukrainian war hero-pilot dies in battle; WNBA star Brittney Griner appeals drug sentence: Live Ukraine updates

WNBA star Brittney Griner's Russian lawyers filed an appeal asking that her 9-year prison term on drug charges be shortened or thrown out. Updates.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Politics