The wife of a US basketball player detained in Russia has called on President Joe Biden to do “whatever is necessary” to secure her release.

Cherelle Grinner told a rally organised by her wife’s team, Phoenix Mercury, that she feared she was not going to get justice from Russian officials.

Brittney Griner has been held in Moscow for over four months on drug charges.

The call comes as Russian authorities urged US officials not to create publicity around the case.

“The hype and working on the public, with all the love for this genre among modern politicians, currently only disturbs” the court process, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.

“It does not just distract from the case but creates interference,” he added. “Silence is needed here.”

Griner, 31, was detained at Sheremetyevo airport, outside Moscow, on 17 February, when a search of her luggage allegedly revealed cannabis oil vape cartridges.

She is due to appear in court later on Thursday. She could face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.

The two-time Olympic gold medallist sent President Biden a letter this week, telling him she was “terrified [she] might be here forever”.

Cherelle Griner expressed anger at the slow pace of her wife’s case. “What and how I feel today is a deeper emotion than hurt. I’m frustrated,” she said.

“I’m frustrated that 140 days have passed since my wife has been able to speak to me, to our family and to our friends. I’m frustrated that my wife is not going to get justice,” she added.

“Let’s make sure this administration knows that they have our support to do whatever is necessary, and that we are not going to ever be quiet until she’s home safely.”

In an Instagram post, she said she felt “hopeful” knowing the president had read her wife’s letter, adding that she would “find comfort in knowing she has not been forgotten”.

Griner, one of the WNMA’s most successful players, travelled to Russia to play club basketball during the US off-season, a common move for US players seeking to top up their salary. She has played with the EuroLeague team UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia since 2014.

US authorities were initially slow to draw attention to the case – which occurred just five days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine – but have since upped the ante.

On Wednesday, Mr Biden told Cherelle Griner that he was working to secure Brittney’s release as soon as possible.

Fewer than 1% of defendants in criminal cases are acquitted in Russia.

However, unlike in US courts, even if she is acquitted, Russia’s government has the authority to overturn any decision and send her to prison.

The wife of a US basketball player detained in Russia has called on President Joe Biden to do “whatever is necessary” to secure her release.

Cherelle Grinner told a rally organised by her wife’s team, Phoenix Mercury, that she feared she was not going to get justice from Russian officials.

Brittney Griner has been held in Moscow for over four months on drug charges.

The call comes as Russian authorities urged US officials not to create publicity around the case.

“The hype and working on the public, with all the love for this genre among modern politicians, currently only disturbs” the court process, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.

“It does not just distract from the case but creates interference,” he added. “Silence is needed here.”

Griner, 31, was detained at Sheremetyevo airport, outside Moscow, on 17 February, when a search of her luggage allegedly revealed cannabis oil vape cartridges.

She is due to appear in court later on Thursday. She could face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.

The two-time Olympic gold medallist sent President Biden a letter this week, telling him she was “terrified [she] might be here forever”.

Cherelle Griner expressed anger at the slow pace of her wife’s case. “What and how I feel today is a deeper emotion than hurt. I’m frustrated,” she said.

“I’m frustrated that 140 days have passed since my wife has been able to speak to me, to our family and to our friends. I’m frustrated that my wife is not going to get justice,” she added.

“Let’s make sure this administration knows that they have our support to do whatever is necessary, and that we are not going to ever be quiet until she’s home safely.”

In an Instagram post, she said she felt “hopeful” knowing the president had read her wife’s letter, adding that she would “find comfort in knowing she has not been forgotten”.

Griner, one of the WNMA’s most successful players, travelled to Russia to play club basketball during the US off-season, a common move for US players seeking to top up their salary. She has played with the EuroLeague team UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia since 2014.

US authorities were initially slow to draw attention to the case – which occurred just five days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine – but have since upped the ante.

On Wednesday, Mr Biden told Cherelle Griner that he was working to secure Brittney’s release as soon as possible.

Fewer than 1% of defendants in criminal cases are acquitted in Russia.

However, unlike in US courts, even if she is acquitted, Russia’s government has the authority to overturn any decision and send her to prison.

Thor: Love and Thunder

 

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