Biden Speaks to Brittney Griner’s Wife After WNBA Star Pens Letter From Russian Prison

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke on Wednesday with Cherelle Griner, the spouse of WNBA star and Olympic winner Brittney Griner, who has been held in a Russian prison on costs of bringing hashish oil vape cartridges into the region considering that February. The telephone dialogue between Biden, Harris, and Cherelle Griner arrived only times soon after the president acquired a hand-prepared letter from Brittney Griner pleading with him to intervene on her behalf and that of other Us citizens remaining held by overseas governments.

“The President known as Cherelle to reassure her that he is working to protected Brittneys release as shortly as attainable, as perfectly as the launch of Paul Whelan and other US nationals who are wrongfully detained or held hostage in Russia and all around the planet,” the White Home reported in a assertion released by CNN. “He also browse her a draft of the letter the President is sending to Brittney Griner now.”

The assertion from the White Residence extra that Biden “offered his support to Cherelle and Brittney’s household, and he dedicated to making certain they are delivered with all doable help even though his administration pursues every single avenue to deliver Brittney property.”

The White Dwelling also explained that Biden experienced responded to the letter Griner despatched from Russia final week, noting that the president experienced acquired the letter on Monday’s Independence Working day holiday break. The statement added that Biden shared his response with Cherelle Griner all through their dialogue.

Basketball Star Arrested in February

Griner is a seven-time WNBA All-Star middle who has played for the Phoenix Mercury due to the fact the 2013 time, such as the team’s 2014 league championship squad. She has also twice received the Olympic gold medal with the U.S. women’s basketball team.

Griner has played seven seasons of specialist basketball in Russia throughout the WNBA’s off-period, a apply common among the league’s gamers. She earns about $1 million for each period to play in Russia, about 4 times the salary Griner earns enjoying for the WNBA. On January 29, Griner played her most current recreation with her workforce UMMC Ekaterinburg ahead of the Russian league took a crack for the FIBA Globe Cup qualifying tournaments.

The Russian Customs Company noted on March 5 that an American women’s basketball player had been detained immediately after hashish vape cartridges were found out in her luggage at the Sheremetyevo airport. The date of the arrest was not offered and the title of the participant was not incorporated in the report. Russian authorities also produced a video clip that appeared to clearly show the star middle with customs officials at an airport safety checkpoint.

The Russian state news agency TASS afterwards claimed that the arrested player was Griner. Although the day of Griner’s arrest was not declared, media retailers reported that she has been in custody given that February 17. Her detention carries on in the midst of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has been greatly condemned by the intercontinental local community.

On Friday, Griner’s trial on prices of possession of cannabis vape costs started in a courtroom outdoors Moscow. CNN claimed that the “prosecution argues that Griner intended to import the medications into Russia’s territory and put the prohibited substances into a backpack and a suitcase,” and that cannabis oil “is subject to management in Russia and is categorised as a narcotic drug.”

Griner Sends Letter to Biden from Russian Prison

Final week, the WNBA star heart despatched a letter to Biden pleading for his aid securing her launch from prison.

“As I sit below in a Russian jail, alone with my thoughts and devoid of the defense of my wife, relatives, close friends, Olympic jersey, or any achievements, I’m terrified I may well be right here endlessly,” reads an excerpt of the letter acquired by CNN.

“I recognize you are working with so a great deal, but you should really do not forget about about me and the other American Detainees,” Griner continued humbly. “Please do all you can to deliver us home. I voted for the to start with time in 2020 and I voted for you. I think in you. I even now have so a lot fantastic to do with my independence that you can assistance restore. I pass up my spouse! I overlook my relatives! I miss my teammates! It kills me to know they are struggling so substantially suitable now. I am grateful for whatever you can do at this minute to get me household.”

Biden acquired the letter from Brittney Griner on the early morning of July 4. The White Home launched three excerpts from the letter, noting that the rest of the correspondence would be stored non-public.

“On the 4th of July, our relatives generally honors the assistance of all those who fought for our flexibility, which include my father who is a Vietnam War Veteran,” Griner wrote. “It hurts considering about how I typically rejoice this day because flexibility signifies something fully unique to me this yr.”

Griner faces up to 10 a long time in jail if convicted in the scenario. Her trial is scheduled to resume on Friday.