Brittney Griner: Detained basketball player sends letter to President Joe Biden pleading for help | NBA News


Brittney Griner appealed to President Joe Biden in a letter delivered to the White House through his representatives saying she feared she would never return home.

The letter also asks President Biden not to forget her and the other American detainees. Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, said the letter was delivered on Monday.

Most of the contents of the letter to President Biden remain private, although Griner representatives shared a few lines from the handwritten note.

“As I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, my family, my friends, my Olympic jersey or any achievement, I am terrified of be here forever,” Griner wrote.

“On July 4, 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 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 midst of a trial in Russia which began last week after she was arrested on February 17 for possession of cannabis oil while returning to play for her Russian team.

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Griner has been detained in Russia since February

The trial will resume on Thursday. Less than one percent of defendants in Russian criminal cases are acquitted and, unlike US courts, acquittals can be overturned.

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

“Please do all you can to get us home,” Griner wrote. “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 in so much pain right now. I am grateful for whatever you can do right now to bring me home. “

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 02: Fans hold a sign for Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner during a WNBA game between the Phoenix Mercury and the Chicago Sky on July 2, 2022 at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, IL.  (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)
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Fans hold signs for Griner during a WNBA game between the Phoenix Mercury and the Chicago Sky

Griner was able to have sporadic communications with family, friends and WNBA players through an email account set up by his agent. The emails are printed and delivered in packets to Griner by his lawyer after being reviewed by Russian officials.

Once the attorneys return to their offices, they scan all of Griner’s responses and send them back to the United States to send.

She was supposed to have a phone call with his wife on their anniversary, but it fell through due to an unfortunate mistake, Biden administration officials said.

Griners supporters have encouraged a prisoner exchange like the one in April that brought home Navy veteran Trevor Reed in exchange for a Russian pilot convicted of a drug trafficking conspiracy.

In May, the State Department designated her as wrongfully detained, placing her case under the supervision of its presidential special envoy for hostage affairs, effectively the government’s chief hostage negotiator.




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