WNBA star Brittney Griner, detained in Russia for more than four months, wrote a letter sent by her representatives to the White House appealing to President Joe Biden for help to bring her home.
“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, according to excerpts of the letter released by her reps Monday.
Griner was arrested on Feb. 17 — days before Russia invaded Ukraine — before she boarded a flight from Moscow to the U.S. Police said she was carrying vape canisters with cannabis oil.
Now the Phoenix Mercury center faces a drug transportation charge that carries a maximum 10-year sentence if convicted. Griner’s trial began Friday in a court near Moscow.
Given tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the latter’s war in Ukraine, Russia’s detention of Griner has been seen as a negotiating ploy.
The delivery of Griner’s letter to Biden coincided with Independence Day.
“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,” Griner wrote. “It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.
“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. 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.
“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.”
–Field Level Media