WASHINGTON | American women's basketball star Brittney Griner on Monday asked President Joe Biden, in a letter excerpts of which were made public by her family, to do everything possible to free her from Russian prison where, accused by local authorities of smuggling drugs, she has been incarcerated since February.
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“Sitting here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, my family, my friends, my Olympic jersey or anything I have achieved, I am terrified of the thought of 'be here forever,' writes the double Olympic basketball champion, whose trial opened on Friday behind closed doors at the Khimki court, in the suburbs of Moscow.
The case took on strong political overtones in the midst of the Russian-American crisis following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
"I know very well that you have to deal with a lot of things, but please don't forget me and the other American prisoners," implores the champion. "Please do everything you can to get us home."
"I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you," adds the 31-year-old basketball player. "I believe in you. I still have so much to accomplish with my freedom that you can help me find it, ”she wrote again in a poignant letter.
“I miss my wife! I miss my family! I miss my teammates! It destroys me to know that they are suffering so much right now. I am grateful for everything you can do right now to bring me home,” she implores.
Griner's letter was symbolically deposited at the White House on Monday, US Independence Day.
“On July 4, our family honors those who fought for freedom, including my father, who is a Vietnam War veteran,” said Brittney Griner in her missive.
The Phoenix Mercury player came to Russia in February to play there during the American offseason, a common practice for basketball players who sometimes earn a better living abroad than at home.
It was upon her arrival at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport that the two-time Olympic champion with the United States (2016, 2020) was arrested in possession, according to the charge, of vaporizers and a cannabis-based liquid .
Opened Friday morning, his trial was adjourned to July 7.