WNBA star Brittney Griner pleaded Monday with President Biden for help getting released from Russia — saying, “I’m terrified I might be here forever.”
In excerpts from a Fourth of July letter shared on social media, Griner told Biden, “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,” she reportedly wrote in a hand-written message.
“I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you. I believe in you.”
Griner, 31, also said that “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.”
“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,” she wrote.
“It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.”
The excerpts were released by a public-relations firm that said the entire letter was delivered to the White House on Monday.
Griner’s wife, Cherelle, has previously called on Biden to get her released and last month said that “it’s starting to feel like a no.”
The 6-foot-9 center for the Phoenix Mercury was arrested at a Moscow airport on Feb. 17 — one week before Russia invaded Ukraine — on suspicion of drug smuggling for allegedly carrying two cannabis oil vape cartridges in her luggage.
On Friday, Griner appeared in court for the start of her trial in Khimki, a Moscow suburb, where the prosecution alleged that she knew the cannabis oil was illegal in Russia before she entered the country to play for a Russian team during the WNBA’s off-season.
The seven-time WNBA All-Star wore a white Jimi Hendrix T-shirt and sneakers without laces as she sat in a cage for defendants, a standard procedure in Russian courts where more than 99 percent of criminal trials end in convictions.
Griner’s trial is set to resume Thursday and she faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.
In a prepared statement, White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said, “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,” Watson added.