Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia for over four months, but it doesn’t seem as though she will be returning to the U.S. anytime soon.
The WNBA star recently penned a letter to President Joe Biden from a Russian jail, expressing her fears about the possibility that she may never be free.
“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 in the letter.
According to a communications company representing the Griner family, the letter was delivered to the White House on Monday morning. Three excerpts from her writing were made public, while the rest were only for the president’s eyes.
Griner was arrested for allegedly possessing vape cartridges that contained hashish oil. It took until May for the State Department to classify her “wrongfully detained,” which meant the U.S. could expand its efforts to bring her home despite the law in Russia. So, it took more than three months just for our government to grant her the classification needed to begin efforts to bring her back to the U.S.
On April 27 calls grew louder for Griner’s release after President Joe Biden announced a prisoner swap deal to release a Russian convicted of drug trafficking in exchange for an American prisoner in Russia.
On May 3 the Biden administration declared that Griner had been “wrongfully detained.” As such, the U.S. government would work more aggressively to secure her release even while the Russian legal case against Griner proceeds.
The WNBA basketball star arrived at a court near Moscow to begin her trial last week and is currently being detained at a pre-trial detention center north of Moscow.
The Biden Administration claims that they have been working tirelessly to bring Griner back to the states.
National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson told CNN, “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.”
But friends and family of Griner believe the president could be doing more.
“It’s really difficult,” Griner’s wife told CNN in a television interview. “This is not a situation where the rhetoric is matching the action. The people working on this are very genuine people, but I do not think the maximum amount of effort is being done because again, the rhetoric and the actions don’t match,” she said.
Rev. Al Sharpton has asked President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to arrange for him and a group of faith leaders to meet with jailed WNBA star Brittney Griner in Russia.
“After speaking with her wife last week, I am deeply concerned for Brittney Griner’s physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing,” said Sharpton in a statement. “Today I’m urging President Biden and Secretary Blinken to bring myself and fellow faith leaders to Russia immediately so we can pray over Brittney in prison. She deserves to see the United States is doing something for her, so she can find the strength as this show trial goes on. Brittney’s family also deserves to hear from someone who has met with and spoken to her. Four months is too long for this to have gone on, and I hope the President acts on her pleas to come home.”
Griner’s heartfelt letter included a plea to the president not to forget about Brittney or the rest of the American detainees who are trying to get back to their families.
“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.”
During the Phoenix Mercury vs Los Angeles Sparks game on July 4, fans held up signs that read, “Brittney should be here,” to show support for their missing star. One fan even wrote, “Google Brittney Griner,” in order to bring awareness to her situation.
The Phoenix Mercury will hold a public rally on Wednesday at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, to show support for Griner, as well as continue to put pressure on US officials to get her released and returned to the states.
‘Don’t Forget’ Brittney Griner: Pressure Mounts For Biden To Help Hoops Star Detained In Russia was originally published on newsone.com