It has been about 140 days since WNBA star, Brittney Griner, was wrongfully detained in Russia. She has finally been able to write a letter to President Joe Biden asking him not to forget about her and advocating for her freedom.
“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 an excerpt released Monday by her representatives.
Griner was arrested for alleged possession of vape cartridges and hashish oil. This alleged crime can cost her up to ten years in a Russian prison on charges of large-scale transportation of drugs, but the U.S. State Department thinks she is being wrongfully detained. Experts say Griner’s best option is most likely to plead guilty since 99% of Russian trials end in conviction. This may lead to a negotiation with the U.S. State Department.
“We believe the Russian Federation is wrongfully detaining Brittney Griner,” NSC spokeswomen 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.”
There has been increasing public pressure for government officials to do something, saying if it were Lebron James or Tom Brady locked away in a Russian prison, something would have been done by now. Phoenix Mercury head coach, Vanessa Nygaard, said that Griner’s detainment is a “statement about the value of women” let alone a gay black women. In her letter Griner also said how it “kills her” to know her family, friends, and teammates are suffering at home.
“I voted for the first time in 2020, and I voted for you,” Griner wrote. “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.”
Let’s hope President Biden and the U.S. government can find a way to bring Griner back because she has been away from home for far too long. This is an opportunity for the United States to stand up for its citizens and for the women who call the United States their home.