Britney Griner supporters urge Biden to make a deal for her release

Dozens of organizations representing people of color, women and LGBT voters called President Biden on Wednesday to close a deal to issue Britney GrinerWNBA star detained in Russia since February.

In a letter sent by Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Griner “continues to endure inhumane treatment, cut off from family.”

The letter stated that the United States “acknowledged that Britney is essentially a political pawn in classifying her as wrongfully detained.” While the signatories expressed “deep appreciation” for the administration’s efforts to free Ms. Greener, “Now we urge you to make a deal to have Britney come home to America immediately and safe.”

Basketball player Phoenix Mercury detained in Russia in February. 17 on charges that she had hash oil in her luggage. At first, Ms Camp Griner was concerned that the publicity could make matters worse due to tensions between Russia and the US, including the war in Ukraine.

But the group’s approach has changed since This was announced on May 3 by the State Department. that he determined Mr. Griner had been “wrongfully detained”. This meant that the United States could do more to bring her home, despite the lawsuit against her in Russia.

In recent weeks, WNBA players working with Ms. Griner’s wife, Cherell, and others tried to get attention.

The latest effort, writing from groups including the National Organization for Women, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Urban League and the National Action Network, was coordinated by Ms. M. Agent Greener, Lindsey Kagawa Kolas, who worked with Democratic strategist Karen Finney and others. The groups, which are a coalition of voters who helped elect Mr. Biden, are speaking out amid growing frustration with the pace of efforts to bring Ms. Greener home.

“As far as I understand, they have not yet begun negotiations for her release and therefore this letter is very powerful because it is much needed support to highlight the fact that we are at a stage where you guys need to make a deal.” Cherell Griner said.

“I wish I could say that I have a clear idea about this,” she said of the White House strategy. “They talk to me a lot in code.”

The administration, she said, “is debating whether to start negotiations” after it has been established that her wife was wrongfully detained. “Instead, they argue and waste time from my wife’s life.”

White House officials, commenting after the article was posted online, said: “President Biden has made it clear that all U.S. citizens held hostage or illegally detained abroad, including Britney Greener, must be released. The US government continues to work aggressively – using all available means – to bring her home.”

Administration officials said Mr. Biden’s team is in constant contact with the Griner family, and Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken spoke with Cherell Griner in May. The Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs is also in touch with Mrs. Greener team.

Bill Richardson, former governor of New Mexico and former US ambassador to the United Nations, also tried to release Ms. Harris. Griner and another American in Russia, former Marine Paul Whelan, who has been in custody since 2018.

However, Cherell Griner said she was not sure how much the White House is giving the case a priority. She told The Associated Press that she was supposed to speak to her wife on the phone for the first time in about four months over the weekend, but a logistical problem at the US embassy in Moscow disrupted plans.

According to the AP, the embassy was supposed to facilitate a call between the two women. But when Brittney Greener called the embassy to connect her with her wife in the United States, there was no answer. Lawyers for Britney Greener said she tried to make a phone call 11 times while her wife waited in vain for a call, AP reported.

“I was confused. I was hurt. I was done, fed up,” Cherell Griner told The AP.