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Brittney Griner writes letter to Joe Biden asking for help in getting freedom from Russia

WNBA player Brittney Griner has written a letter to President Joe Biden asking for help in releasing her from prison in Russia.

Ms Griner was arrested in February by Russian authorities after customs officers allegedly found cartridges containing hash oil in her luggage.

In excerpts shared by her reps, she writes: “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 realization, I’m terrified of being here forever.

In another part, she tells the president, “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. It hurts to think about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.”

She further adds, “I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget me and the other American inmates. Please do all you can to get us home. I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you. I believe in you.”

Mrs. Griner adds: “I still have so much 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 that they are in so much pain right now. I appreciate whatever you can do at this time to bring me home.

The athlete’s trial will resume on Thursday and the charges against her could carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Dozens of organizations have already signed a letter calling on President Biden to reach a deal to release Ms Griner. They wrote that the star “continues to suffer inhumane treatment, deprived of contact with her family” and called on the administration to increase their urgency on this matter and to “reach an agreement to bring Brittney home to America immediately and in safe”.

His supporters have encouraged US authorities to consider 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.

Russian media have repeatedly speculated that she could be traded for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, nicknamed ‘the dealer of death’, who is serving a 25-year sentence for conspiring to kill citizens. Americans and aiding a terrorist organization. .

Russia has been agitating for years for Bout’s release. But the wide gap between Griner’s case and Bout’s global lethal weapons deals could make such an exchange unpleasant for the United States.

Others have suggested she could be traded in tandem with Paul Whelan, a former naval and security director serving a 16-year sentence on an espionage conviction the United States has repeatedly described as a configuration.

With reporting from The Associated Press

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Post expires at 7:38pm on Friday July 15th, 2022