After speaking with Brittney Griner’s wife, U.S. President Joe Biden assured her that he was working hard to secure her release as soon as possible, the White House said.
At their meeting on Wednesday, Biden promised the Griner family that the government would provide them with “all possible assistance” as they worked toward Griner’s release, a statement from the White House said.
In light of this, Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA all-star was detained for four months and is currently on trial in Russia, accused of possessing vape cartridges containing cannabis oil.
After she was arrested on February 17 as she returned to play for her Russian team, her trial began last week. It has been scheduled that she will be back in court on Thursday for another hearing. She could face up to ten years in prison if convicted of drug charges.
Griner wrote to President Obama on Monday, pleading his case in a handwritten letter that was delivered to the White House. Afraid she would be held in Russia indefinitely, Griner wrote to Biden pleading with him to “not forget about me or the other American detainees.”
It has become more prominent because of Russia’s conflict in Ukraine. In response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Western powers have imposed sanctions, and Russian-US relations have reached their lowest ebb in decades.
On Friday, Griner was informed that she had been charged with importing narcotics with the intent to distribute. In the event that a guilty verdict is handed down, Griner may seek clemency or file an appeal, the Russian foreign ministry announced on Wednesday.
Speaking at a briefing, Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexei Zaitsev stated that “no one is stopping Brittney Griner from using the appeal procedure.”
By presenting the case as if the American woman was illegally detained, “Zaitsev added, the attempts do not stand up to criticism.
In Russian criminal cases, less than 1% of defendants are acquitted, and acquittals can be overturned, unlike in the United States.
Why is Brittney Griner in Russian Custody?
For the past month, Griner has been detained in a Russian prison after being accused of trying to smuggle vape cartridges containing hashish oil through a Russian airport.
Jeremy Griner’s trial began on Friday and will conclude on July 7th. Griner faces up to ten years in prison if convicted.