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Brittney Griner sent a letter to the White House Monday to make sure President Joe Biden and the rest of his administration do not “forget about me and the other American detainees” in Russia.
Griner’s letter was passed to the White House through her representatives. Though most of the contents remained private, her representatives shared some excerpts.
“… 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,” the WNBA superstar wrote.
“On the 4th of July, our family normally honors the service of those who fought for our freedom, including my father who is a Vietnam War Veteran. It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.”
Griner pleaded with Biden to use his presidential powers to ensure her return. She was arrested in February for allegedly bringing vape cartridges containing oils derived from cannabis through a Moscow airport.
“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,” the letter read in part. “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.”
The White House National Security Council confirmed the White House received Griner’s letter.
“We believe the Russian Federation is wrongfully detaining Brittney Griner,” NSC spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said Monday. “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.”
Griner is in the middle of a trial that began Friday to determine her fate. Fewer than 1% of defendants in Russian criminal cases are acquitted and, unlike in U.S. courts, acquittals can be overturned.
She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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