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WNBA star Brittney Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, thanked President Biden in a statement Saturday for meeting with her over the player’s detainment in Russia.
Activists have been pushing Biden for months to get Brittney Griner back home after she was detained at an airport by Russian officials in February for having vape cartridges containing hashish oil, a form of cannabis.
She pleaded guilty in Russian court earlier this summer and was sentenced to nine years in prison.
Biden met with Brittney Griner’s family and the family of former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who is also detained in Russia, on Friday.
“I want to thank President Biden for today’s meeting. It was an honor to speak with him directly about the Brittney we know and love, and to thank him for the Administration’s efforts to secure her release,” Cherelle Griner wrote.
The Biden administration has said both Griner and Whelan have been unlawfully detained, but the government has not been able to secure their release amid high tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the war in Ukraine.
“I’ve felt every minute of the grueling seven months without her. I look forward to the day my wife is back home. As my family and I continue on this journey, I’d like to thank the broad coalition of friends, leaders and supporters who continue to stand with us and advocate for Brittney’s swift and safe return,” Cherelle Griner said. “Let’s share a unified commitment to bringing all Americans home to their families and loved ones. Together We Are BG.”
The Biden administration was able to secure the release of former Marine Trevor Reed, another American who was detained in Russia, in May. The government exchanged a jailed Russian national in the U.S. convicted on drug trafficking charges for Reed.