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Brittney Griner Appeals to President Biden Amid Detention in Russia

WNBA star Brittney Griner, who has been detained in Russia since February, has written a letter to president Joe Biden directly appealing for his assistance in procuring her release.

Excerpts of her emotional message to the president were shared via Twitter on Monday by ESPN's T.J. Quinn.

Griner wrote, “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.”

The 31-year-old Mercury center has been held in Russian custody since Feb. 17, when Russian officials claimed they found vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage upon arrival at a Moscow-area airport. The U.S. government contends she is being wrongfully detained. Griner has played in Russia, where salaries greatly exceed those in the WNBA, for many years during the WNBA offseason.

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Given the timing of the letter on Independence Day, Griner mentioned her father's military service.

"On the 4th of July, our family normally honors the service of those who fought for our freedom, including my father, who is a Vietnam War veteran," Griner wrote. "It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day, because freedom means something completely different to me this year."

Griner's trial began Friday, four days after her detention was extended by six months by Russian authorities. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday.

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