WNBA

WNBA star Griner makes freedom appeal to US President Biden

Reuters
WNBA star Griner makes freedom appeal to US President Biden

Brittney Griner is escorted before a court hearing in Khimki outside Moscow, Russia

Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

'I miss my wife! I miss my family! I miss my teammates!' WNBA star Brittney Griner pens an emotional plea to President Joe Biden for her freedom from Russian detention as the US celebrates its Independence Day

WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner has made a direct plea to US President Joe Biden to stand up for her in an emotional letter sent to the White House on Monday, July 4 (Tuesday, July 5, Manila time) as she remains detained in Russia on drug charges.

Griner, who was held at a Moscow airport on February 17 when a search of her luggage allegedly revealed multiple cannabis oil vape cartridges, went on trial on Friday, July 1 (Saturday, July 2, Manila time), and could face up to 10 years in a Russian jail.

The case takes place against a backdrop of high tension between Moscow and Washington over the conflict in Ukraine. US officials say Griner has been detained wrongfully.

“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,” she wrote in a letter, excerpts of which have been shared by her representatives.

“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, who competes in the WNBA but has also played regularly in Russia, was formally told at the first hearing that she was charged with intentionally importing narcotics into Russia.

The judge set the next hearing for July 7.

“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,” Griner added.

“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.” – Rappler.com

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