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Griner sends a letter to President Biden begging for his help

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“On July 4, our family normally honors the service of those who fought for our freedom, including my father who is a Vietnam War veteran,” the Phoenix Mercury Center added. “It hurts to think about how I usually celebrate this day, because freedom means something completely different to me this year.”

The two-time Olympic gold medalist is in the midst of a trial in Russia that began last week after she was arrested on February 17 on charges of possessing cannabis oil while returning to play for her Russian team. The trial will resume on Thursday.

Less than 1% of suspects in Russian criminal cases are acquitted, and unlike US courts, acquittals can be reversed.

The White House National Security Council has confirmed that the White House has received Griner’s letter.

“We believe that the Russian Federation is wrongly detaining Brittney Griner,” NSC spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said Monday. “President Biden has been clear about the need to see the release of all U.S. citizens who are being held hostage or wrongly held abroad, including Brittney Griner. The US government continues to work aggressively — by all means available — to bring her home.”

Griner begged Biden in the letter to use his powers to ensure her return.

‘Please do everything you can to take 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 me recover,” Griner said. ‘I miss my wife! I miss my family! I miss my teammates! It pains me to know that they are suffering so much right now. I am grateful for everything you can do right now to get me home.”

Griner has been able to communicate sporadically with family, friends and WNBA players through an email account set up by her agent. The emails are printed out by her lawyer and delivered to Griner in bundles after being vetted by Russian officials. Once the attorneys are back in their office, they will scan all of Griner’s responses and send them back to the US for mailing.

She was supposed to have a phone call with her wife on their birthday, but it fell through due to an “unfortunate mistake”, officials of the Biden administration.

Griner supporters have encouraged a prisoner swap like the one seen in April, in which Navy veteran Trevor Reed was brought home in exchange for a Russian pilot convicted of drug trafficking conspiracy. The State Department labeled her wrongfully detained in May and moved her case under the supervision of the Presidential Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs, effectively the government’s chief negotiator.

Griner is not the only American wrongfully detained in Russia. Paul Whelan, a former Marine and Security Director, is serving a 16-year prison term for an espionage conviction.

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