Brittney Griner’s supporters call on Biden to sign a deal to free her

Dozens of organizations representing people of color, women and LGBTQ voters called on President Biden on Wednesday to conclude an agreement for the release of Brittney Griner, the WNBA star who has been detained in Russia since February.

In a letter sent to Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, said the groups Ms. Griner “continues to endure inhuman treatment, without contact with her family.”

The letter said the United States “has acknowledged that Brittney is essentially a political pawn in classifying her as wrongfully detained.” And while the signatories cited “deep appreciation” for the administration’s efforts to Ms. Griner, “We’re asking you now to make a deal to get Brittney back to America immediately and safely.”

The Phoenix Mercury basketball player was arrested in Russia in February. 17 our accusations that she had hash oil in her luggage. Initially, Ms. Griner’s camp feared that publicity could exacerbate the situation because of tensions between Russia and the United States, including the war in Ukraine.

But the group’s approach has changed since the State Department said on May 3 that it had determined that Ms. Griner was “misguided.” This meant that the United States was able to expand greater efforts to bring them home despite the legal action against them in Russia.

In recent weeks, players with the WNBA, working with Ms. The wife of Griner, Cherelle, and others, have tried to draw attention to her case.

The latest attempt, the letter from groups including the National Organization for Women, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Urban League and the National Action Network, was coordinated by Democratic strategist Karen Finney. The groups, which represent a coalition of constituencies that helped Mr. Biden, speaking amid growing frustrations about the pace of the attempt to Ms. Grins at home.

“To my understanding, they have not started negotiating their release, and so this letter is very powerful, because it is very much needed support to highlight the fact that we are in the phase where you have to make a deal. , “said Cherelle Griner.

“I wish I could say I have a clear understanding of it,” she said of the White House strategy. “They do a lot of talking in code with me.”

The administration, she said, “is debating whether to start negotiations,” when it has already been determined that her wife has been wrongly detained. “Instead, they debate and waste time from my wife’s life.”

White House officials declined to comment.

Administration officials have said Mr. The Biden team has regular contact with the Griner family and that Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with Cherelle Griner in May. The Special Envoy for Hostage Matters is also in contact with Ms. Grins team.

However, Cherelle Griner said she was not sure how much the White House prioritized the case. She told The Associated Press that she would speak to her wife by telephone for the first time in about four months over the weekend, but a logistical problem at the US embassy in Moscow made the plans go up.

According to The AP, the embassy should facilitate the call between the two women. But when Brittney Griner called the embassy to intercept her wife in the United States, there was no answer. Brittney Griner’s lawyers said she tried to call the line 11 times while her wife waited in vain for the call, The AP reported.

“I was surprised. I was injured. I was ready, seed,” Cherelle Griner told The AP

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