Brittney Griner: Detained basketball star tells Joe Biden she's 'terrified'

Brittney Griner in action for Phoenix Mercury

Basketball star Brittney Griner has written to United States President Joe Biden and urged him to secure her release from prison in Russia.

The 31-year-old was arrested in February at the Sheremetyevo Alexander S Pushkin International Airport.

She was detained after vape cartridges containing hashish oil were allegedly found in her bag.

Griner’s trial began last week and there are concerns she could ​​face a sentence of up to 10 years in prison for the charges levelled against her.

In a direct appeal to Biden, delivered to the White House on Independence Day, Griner revealed she was “terrified I might be here forever”.

“I realise you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other detainees,” she said. “Please do all you can to bring us home.”

Another excerpt read: “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.”

The White House reiterated on Monday that “the Russian Federation is wrongfully detaining Brittney Griner”, and pledged it was working “aggressively” to bring her back to the US.

“President Biden has been clear about the need to see all US nationals who are held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad released, including Brittney Griner,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson.

“The US government continues to work aggressively – using every available means – to bring her home.

“The President’s team is in regular contact with Brittney’s family and we will continue to work to support her family.”

Griner, a Phoenix Mercury star, has won WNBA, Euroleague and Olympic titles. She spends her off-season competing in Russia, most recently for UMMC Ekaterinburg.

Off the court, Griner is seen as an LGBTQ+ icon. She came out publicly aged 22, and soon after became the first openly gay athlete to be endorsed by Nike.

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