“I’m Terrified I Might Be Here Forever”: Detained WNBA Star Brittney Griner asks Biden for Help

WNBA star Brittney Griner appealed to President Joe Biden on Monday to help secure her release from a Russian prison, The New York Times reports.

Griner, a longtime member of the Phoenix Mercury and two-time Olympic gold medalist, was arrested on February 17 after she was accused of having THC oil in her luggage in Moscow.

Griner was in Russia to play with UMMC Yekaterinburg, a women’s basketball team that she has played on for several seasons.

Griner faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Her trial began on Friday.

“There’s a bias mainly because the Russian judicial system says they really should not go to trial unless the defendant is going to be convicted,” William Pomeranz, the acting director of the Kennan Institute and an expert on Russian law, told The New York Times. “There’s no real idea or expectation that the defendant could be innocent. There’s no presumption of innocence, really.”

Griner appeals to Biden:

“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 in a letter to Biden this week.

“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,” she added.

No word back:

The White House did not say whether Biden had received the letter.

“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,” National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson told the Times, adding that “the president’s team is in regular contact with Brittney’s family.”

But Griner’s wife Cherelle told CBS News that the family has not received a response, calling it “very disheartening.”

“I will not be quiet anymore,” Cherelle Griner said. “My wife is struggling and we have to help her.”

 

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