Basketball star Brittney Griner calls on US president to do all he can to safe her launch from Russian jail.
US basketball star Brittney Griner has appealed to President Joe Biden to do all he can to safe her launch from jail in Russia, saying in a letter that she is “terrified” she may stay imprisoned eternally.
Representatives for Griner, a Ladies’s Nationwide Basketball Affiliation (WNBA) all-star and two-time Olympic gold medallist, launched excerpts of the letter on Monday, the identical day her agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas mentioned it was delivered to the White Home.
“As I sit right here in a Russian jail, alone with my ideas and with out the safety of my spouse, household, pals, Olympic jersey, or any accomplishments, I’m terrified I is perhaps right here eternally,” Griner mentioned within the hand-written observe.
“On the 4th of July, our household usually honors the service of those that fought for our freedom, together with my father who’s a Vietnam Struggle Veteran,” she added, referring to Independence Day in the US.
“It hurts serious about how I normally have fun at the present time as a result of freedom means one thing utterly completely different to me this yr.”
Griner was arrested on the airport within the Russian capital in mid-February on fees of carrying vape cartridges that contained hashish oil in her baggage.
Her incarceration got here at a time of heightened tensions between Russia and the US over the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the Biden administration has mentioned she is being “wrongfully detained”.
Griner’s trial started in Moscow on July 1. Two witnesses had been questioned by the prosecution: an airport customs official, who spoke in open courtroom, and an unidentified witness in a closed session, in response to the state information company RIA-Novosti.
The trial was then adjourned, it mentioned, when two different witnesses didn’t present up, and the subsequent session was set for July 7.
US Cost d’Affaires Elizabeth Rood instructed reporters on the trial that Griner instructed her she was “holding the religion” and that she was doing “in addition to could be anticipated”.
The Biden administration has beforehand mentioned it’s working to convey Griner and one other American, Michigan company safety government Paul Whelan, house from Russia, and that their circumstances stay priorities.
In Monday’s letter, Griner urged Biden to make use of his powers to make sure her return.
“Please do all you’ll be able to to convey us house. I voted for the primary time in 2020 and I voted for you. I consider in you. I nonetheless have a lot good to do with my freedom that you would be able to assist restore,” she mentioned.
“I miss my spouse! I miss my household! I miss my teammates! It kills me to know they’re struggling a lot proper now. I’m grateful for no matter you are able to do at this second to get me house.”
It’s fairly robust having fun with a day meant to have fun independence when certainly one of our personal residents, Brittney Griner, is STILL wrongfully detained in Russia.#WeAreBG
— WNBPA (@TheWNBPA) July 4, 2022
Griner’s imprisonment has drawn requires motion from high US athletes, together with her WNBA teammates, who met with US State Division officers in mid-June to push for her launch.
“We’re right here to do no matter we will to amplify and hold BG on the forefront, which is extra essential than any basketball sport and anything that’s happening in our lives,” Phoenix Mercury star Diana Taurasi mentioned in an announcement launched by the crew at the moment.
The WNBA Gamers Affiliation additionally referred to as for motion on Monday, saying on Twitter: “It’s fairly robust having fun with a day meant to have fun independence when certainly one of our personal residents, Brittney Griner, is STILL wrongfully detained in Russia.”