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Brittney Griner to Biden: ‘I’m Terrified I Might Be Here Forever.’

Britney Greiner, the WNBA star who has been detained in Russia on drug charges since February, sent a handwritten letter to President Biden on Monday asking him not to forget about her.

Greiner said in an excerpt from a letter shared by its representatives.

She continued, “I realize you’re dealing with a lot, but please don’t forget me and the other American detainees. Please do everything you can to get us home.”

A White House spokeswoman did not say whether the president received the letter, but did provide a statement from Adrian Watson, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council.

President Biden has been clear about the need to release all American citizens who are being held hostage or unjustly held abroad, including Britney Greiner. And the US government continues to work aggressively – using every means available – to get her home,” Watson said.

“The president’s team is in regular contact with Britney’s family,” she added.

Grenier, 31, was arrested on February 17 after she was accused of having cannabis oil in her bag at an airport near Moscow. She was in Russia to play for UMMC Yekaterinburg, the professional women’s basketball team that she competed with during several seasons outside of the WNBA. She has played for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury since 2013, when the team drafted her with the #1 overall pick, and won two Olympic golds with the US women’s national basketball team.

Griner faces up to 10 years in a criminal colony if convicted of drug charges in Russia. Her trial began on Friday, and legal experts said she is likely to plead guilty. But not necessarily based on the facts of the case.

“There’s basically bias because the Russian judicial system says they really shouldn’t be tried unless the defendant is found guilty,” William Pomeranz, acting director of the Kennan Institute and expert on Russian law, told the New York Times. newly. There is no real idea or expectation that the accused is innocent. There’s no presumption of innocence, really.”

Griner did not respond to the accusations. The US State Department decided in May that she was being “unjustly detained,” although it did not say how or why it came to that conclusion. This determination meant that government officials dealing with the hostages would work to get her released. More than 40 Americans were said to have been unjustly arrested around the world earlier this year.

In her letter to Biden, Greiner referred to the Fourth of July. “It hurts to think about the way I normally celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year,” she said, adding that she voted for the first time in the 2020 presidential election — and chose Biden.

Greiner’s wife, Cheryl Greiner, has publicly urged Biden to help free his wife. Last month, Griner’s agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas coordinated a letter to Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris from dozens of women’s and civil rights organizations. The letter said Greiner was suffering “inhuman treatment”.

“We now urge you to make a deal to bring Britney back home to America immediately and safely,” the letter read.

In April, the US and Russia conducted a prisoner exchange that freed Trevor R. Read, a former US Marine who had been held on assault charges for more than two years. In return, the United States released Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko He was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2011 for cocaine smuggling.

US officials did not say whether they would consider a prisoner exchange for Grenier’s release.

Long-running tensions between the United States and Russia and the ongoing war in Ukraine have complicated Greiner’s situation, but government officials have said securing her release is a priority.

Michael D Contribute to the preparation of reports.

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