WNBA star Brittney Griner, who has been detained in Russia since February on drug charges, sent a handwritten letter to President Joe Biden on Monday asking him to keep her imprisonment in mind.
“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,” she wrote in a letter shared by her representatives.
Griner was detained in February at a Russia airport for allegedly having hash oil in her baggage, likely in the form of a vape.
“I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other American detainees,” she also said in the letter. “Please do all you can to bring us home.”
A spokesperson for the president did not confirm whether he has seen or read the letter.
A statement from a spokesperson for the National Security Council given to the New York Times read: “President Biden has been clear about the need to see all U.S. nationals who are held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad released, including Brittney Griner. The U.S. government continues to work aggressively – using every available means – to bring her home.”
Griner, if convicted, faces up to a decade in a penal colony. Her trial began Friday, and legal experts say she will likely be found guilty. In Russia, cases largely go to trial only if the defendant is going to be found guilty.
In May, the U.S. State Department determined that Griner had been wrongfully detained, meaning that officials who deal with hostage situations would be the ones working to free her.
Griner’s wife and agent have publicly rallied support to urge the president and vice president to make a deal to get Griner back to America. It is presently unclear if U.S. officials are considering a prisoner swap.