WNBA player Brittney Griner made a direct appeal to President Joe Biden for her freedom Monday in a letter passed through her representatives.
“I’m terrified I might be here forever,” she wrote in an excerpt, per ESPN. “I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other detainees … Please do all you can to bring us home.”
Griner is being detained in Russia after officials found hashish oil in her luggage at an airport near Moscow, OutKick previously reported. Her trial began Friday.
ESPN reports that both legal experts and U.S. officials have described the proceeding as a “show trial” that is likely to end in a conviction and lengthy sentence, and the trial has been described as a negotiating tactic by the Russian government to exchange her in a prisoner swap.
The handwritten letter also notes her father’s military service.
“On the 4th of July, our family normally honors the service of those men who fought for our freedom, including my father who is a Vietnam War Veteran,” another part of the letter reads. “It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.”
Griner’s wife has only communicated via letter with the WNBA star and has not heard Griner’s voice since February 17.
Griner’s family and supporters have tried to ratchet up pressure on the White House and the U.S. State Department to negotiate a trade that will bring her home.
ESPN reports that Russian state media outlets — which typically operate under direct instruction from the government —have reported that there are discussions about trading Griner for a Russian man named Viktor Bout, who is serving a 25-year sentence for financing terrorism.
The outlet also reports that U.S. officials have said they are trying to secure the release of Paul Whelan, an American who has been in Russian custody since December 2018.
Griner’s trial is scheduled to continue Thursday.
More of her letter reads: ” … 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.”
“I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you,” another part of the letter reads. “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.”
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