According to a statement issued by the White House, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Cherelle Griner, the wife of W.N.B.A. star Brittney Griner, on Wednesday. Since February, Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia on drug-related charges.
Biden read a draft of the letter he intended to send to Brittney Griner during the conversation.
The president pledged to ensure Cherelle and Brittney’s family receives all support possible while his administration exhausts all options to bring Brittney home, according to the statement.
Since February 17, Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia on suspicion of possessing a vape cartridge containing hashish oil in her luggage at an airport close to Moscow, according to the Russian government. On Friday, she went on trial. Brittney Griner wrote to Biden on Monday, pleading for his assistance.
In a letter excerpt distributed by her representatives, Griner said, “I’m terrified I might be here forever.” I know you have a lot on your plate, but I beg you, don’t forget about me and the other American detainees. Please try your best to get us home.
Regardless of how the trial turns out, the U.S. government has designated Griner as having been “wrongfully detained” and is working to secure her release.
The White House said in a statement on Wednesday that Brittney Griner had been “wrongfully detained in Russia under intolerable circumstances.”
Additionally, it was stated that Cherelle Griner and Brittney Griner’s family were to remain in “regular contact” with Biden’s national security team. The efforts made by Biden and his administration to secure the release of her wife have been met with public annoyance on Cherelle Griner’s part.
On “CBS Mornings” on Tuesday, Cherelle Griner expressed her disappointment that Brittney Griner’s family had not received a response to Brittney Griner’s letter from the president.
Cherelle Griner declared, “I won’t be silent any longer.” “We need to assist my wife because she is having trouble.”
Only letters have allowed the women to communicate with one another. A staffing issue at the American Embassy in Moscow prevented Cherelle Griner from connecting with Brittney Griner during a scheduled call, she revealed to The Associated Press in June. Since the day Brittney Griner was arrested, she claimed she had not spoken to her wife.
According to experts, Brittney Griner’s trial would probably result in a conviction. If found guilty, she could spend up to 10 years in a penal colony.
According to the Russian judicial system, a case shouldn’t proceed to trial unless the defendant is likely to be found guilty, according to William Pomeranz, the acting director of the Kennan Institute and a specialist in Russian law. “There isn’t a lot of hope or expectation that the accused is innocent. Really, there is no assumption of innocence.
A prisoner swap is one way to guarantee the release of an American held abroad. In April, a prisoner swap resulted in the release of Trevor Reed, a former U.S. Marine who had been detained in Russia since August 2019 on assault-related charges. In July 2020, Reed received a nine-year prison term.
Since being selected first overall by the W.N.B.A. Phoenix Mercury in 2013, Griner has been a member of the team. In addition to two gold medals with the American women’s national basketball team, she won a W.N.B.A. championship in 2014.
She was there because she was a member of the UMMC Yekaterinburg women’s basketball team, one of the highest paid in the world.