On July 5, WNBA player Brittney Griner sent a handwritten letter to President Joe Biden, expressing her fear and hopelessness about being detained in Russia. The heartbreaking letter was nothing short of a plea to the country to work harder for the release of her and all the other American detainees being unlawfully kept in the European nation during its tense time with the United States.
Although the entire letter wasn’t released, three touching excerpts have been given to the public – leading to renewed efforts by the people. The note begins, “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 was arrested in February. It occurred at an Airport in Moscow, just a week before the invasion of Ukraine. Authorities disguised her likely unlawful detention by accusing her of smuggling narcotic substances in and out of the country after supposedly finding cannabis oil in her luggage before her flight. This led to an extended trial in Russia for charges related to drug smuggling.
According to U.S. officials, she “has been wrongfully detained [and fear] she is being used as a political pawn amid rising tensions between Russia and the U.S. The other released parts of the letter align with the worries of many U.S. officials.
“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 wrote. “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. 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.”
CNN reports that Biden has received the letter, and many spokespeople have responded to the emotional message. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said,” We are going to use every tool that we possibly can.”
The National Security Council reiterated this sentiment to CNN. “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.”
On Wednesday, Brittany’s wife, Cherelle, shared a post on Instagram informing fans that the president and vice president had expressed that they were committed to bringing her wife home.
“This morning, I received a call from President Biden and Vice President Harris. I am grateful to the both of them for the time they spent with me and for the commitment they expressed to getting BG home. While I will remain concerned and outspoken until she is back home, I am hopeful in knowing that the President read my wife’s letter and took the time to respond. I know BG will be able to find comfort in knowing she has not been forgotten.”
She added, “I want to thank everyone who has fought so hard for BG. It means the world to my entire family, as well as my wife. Please continue to pray for my family and all the other families of the wrongfully detained, as our pain remains active until our loved ones are brought home. Let’s continue to use our voices to speak the names of all the wrongfully detained Americans and support the Administration as they do what it takes to bring them home today.”
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