Brittney Griner is asking President Joe Biden directly for help: “I’m afraid I might be here forever,” the WNBA star wrote in a letter from Russia

Brittney Griner on Monday sent a handwritten letter to President Joe Biden asking for his help in getting out of custody in Russia.

Griner’s representatives forwarded the message to the White House and made excerpts of the letter public.

“Sitting here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey or any accomplishments, I fear that I might be here forever.” Griner wrote.

Griner also noted that the concept of freedom meant something “completely different” to her that Fourth of July.

“On July 4th, our family typically honors the service of those men who fought for our freedom, including my father, who is a Vietnam War veteran,” she wrote. “It hurts to think how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something very different to me this year.”

It is unclear how the letter from Griner’s prison cell outside Moscow got to the White House. ESPN’s TJ Quinn reported that Griner was able to send messages to her friends and family, but Russian officials monitored the correspondence.

MORE: Full timeline explaining Griner’s incarceration in Russia

Griner, a star center for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, was arrested in Russia on February 17 while trying to enter the country to play for UMMC Ekaterinburg in the Russian Premier League. She was accused of smuggling vape cartridges into the country containing hash oil, a substance illegal in Russia.

Griner became the subject of a criminal investigation into “large-scale drug trafficking, which in Russia carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison behind bars,” according to the New York Times.

US officials on May 3 classified Griner as “wrongly detained,” meaning the US government will seek to negotiate her release and return rather than admitting her legal case. Griner’s trial began on July 1.

Quinn reported that the trial is widely viewed as a “show trial” designed to result in “a conviction and a lengthy prison sentence” for Griner. That, in turn, would help Russia facilitate a cheap prisoner exchange with the US

MORE: How the WNBA responded to Griner’s incarceration

Griner has not yet submitted a plea in the process. Now she’s hoping her plea to President Biden will expedite a possible release.

“I realize you are involved in so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other inmates,” Griner wrote. “Please do whatever you can to bring us home.”

“I miss my wife! I miss my family! I miss my teammates!” she added. “It kills me to know they are suffering so much right now. I am grateful for anything you can do at this moment to bring me home.”

Leave a Comment