Brittney Griner writes handwritten letter to Biden

“(As) I am sitting here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey or other achievements, I am terrified that I will be here forever,” she wrote, according to on a statement from the communications company representing the Griner family.

Griner, 31, who played in Russia during the WNBA’s off-season, was arrested at a Moscow airport on February 17, a week before Russia invaded Ukraine. Russian authorities claimed she had cannabis oil in her luggage and accused her of smuggling significant amounts of narcotics, a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison. She was on Friday before a court near Moscow on charges of drug smuggling.

Griner supporters and US officials say she has been wrongly detained and have called for her release as fears mount that she is being used as a political pawn amid mounting tensions between Russia and the US.

Griner’s letter to Biden was delivered to the White House Monday morning, according to the statement from the communications company. Three excerpts from the letter were made public, while the rest are kept private, the statement said.

“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,” Griner wrote to Biden.

“I realize you’re dealing with so much but please don’t forget about me and the other American inmates. Please do everything you can to get 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 restore I miss my wife I miss my family I miss my teammates It pains me to know they are suffering so much right now. I’m grateful for everything you can do right now to get me home.”

CNN has contacted the White House for comment.

Griner’s wife, Cherelle, told CNN last week that she wants US officials to do everything they need to do to bring the basketball legend home — and see them do more.
Dozens of organizations sign letter calling on President Biden to make deal for Brittney Griner's release

In the only interview she gave on the eve of her wife’s trial in Russia, Cherelle Griner sat in the Phoenix Mercury dressing room and called for more action.

“It’s really very difficult. This is not a situation where the rhetoric matches the action,” she said. “Unfortunately I have to push people to make sure the things they tell me match their actions, and so it’s been the hardest thing to balance because I can’t give up. It’s over 130 days and BG is still still not back.”

The US House of Representatives passed a bipartisan resolution last month calling on the Russian government to immediately release the WNBA star.

“Not a day goes by that we don’t think about Brittney and work to get her home,” Arizona Democratic Representative Greg Stanton, who sponsored the resolution, said in a statement. “We will continue to push for her release and make sure she is not forgotten.”

Stanton previously served as mayor of Phoenix, where Griner plays for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.

Stanton introduced the resolution in May along with Democratic delegates Sheila Jackson Lee and Colin Allred of Griner’s home state of Texas.

“I am grateful for this overwhelming support from Congress. We must do everything we can to keep Brittney’s cause at the forefront and finally end this nightmare,” Cherelle Griner said in a statement at the time.

CORRECTION: In an earlier version of this story, Brittney Griner’s first name was misspelled.

Abby Phillip, Steve Almasy, Homero De la Fuente and Rachel Janfaza of CNN contributed to this report.

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