Biden’s conversation with Cherelle Griner followed Brittney Griner’s personal appeal to the president in a handwritten letter from the basketball superstar received by the White House on Monday.
In the letter, Brittney Griner said she feared she would remain incarcerated in Russia forever and asked Biden “not to forget me and the other American inmates.”
Brittney Griner has been jailed in Russia for four months and is currently on trial on charges of possessing cannabis oil vaporizer cartridges. The trial will continue on Thursday.
Less than 1% of defendants in Russian criminal cases are acquitted, and unlike US courts, acquittals can be overturned.
“The President has called Cherelle to reassure her that he is working to secure the release of Brittney Griner as soon as possible, as well as the release of Paul Whelan and other US citizens living in Russia and around the world wrongly arrested or held hostage,” the President told the White House in a statement. “He also read her a draft of the letter the President is sending to Brittney Griner (Wednesday).”
Biden offered his support to the family and pledged to ensure they receive “every possible support” while the administration seeks Brittney Griner’s release, the White House said. He added that this situation is close to his heart and that he is updated daily on the status of negotiations with Brittney Griner.
After the phone call, Cherelle Griner released a statement, in part saying she was grateful for the time the president and vice president spent with her and for the commitment they expressed to bringing Brittney Griner home . Cherelle Griner admits she remains concerned and will keep an open mind, but is also hopeful.
When the WNBA Players Association learned of the president’s phone call, it said in a statement it now has “a level of comfort that BG has not forgotten.”
In addition, a group of more than 1,100 black women leaders sent an open letter to Biden and Harris on behalf of Brittney Griner.
The letter from the Win With Black Women Network urging the president and vice president to strike a deal with Russian officials is signed by the Basketball Hall of Famers, elected officials, activists and even Tina Knowles-Lawson, Beyonce’s mother .
Women’s leaders say Brittney Griner is being used as a political pawn, enduring inhumane conditions while being denied communication with her spouse, family and friends.
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https://abc13.com/brittney-griner-handwritten-letter-president-joe-biden-vice-kamala-harris/12025039/ When President Joe Biden receives a letter from Houston’s Brittney Griner, he says he’s working to bring her home