Fears that Russia is gathering political pawns after the trial of WNBA star Brittney Griner are raised.
Brittney Griner, an American basketball player who is now being held, addressed US President Joe Biden in a handwritten letter on July 4 and made a strong case for her release.
Since the Russian Federal Customs Service claimed it found hashish oil-containing vape cartridges in Griner's luggage when she boarded a trip from New York to Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport in February 2022, she has been detained in a Russian prison.
Five months after her initial incarceration, Griner wrote, "I'm frightened I might be here forever." "Don't forget about me or the other American prisoners, please. Please try your best to get us home.
One of the most accomplished female basketball players in the US is Griner, 31. She now risks receiving a 10-year jail sentence if found guilty of narcotics smuggling charges, despite the fact that US authorities claim she was "wrongfully detained."
Griner's hearing, which started on July 1, has drawn criticism from certain US pundits who have called it a "show trial" and claimed that Russia is using Griner, who was detained one week before it invaded Ukraine, as a political pawn.
According to Ben Noble, associate professor of Russian politics at University College London, "it's a time of noticeably increased hostility between Russia and the US." "Brittney Griner's initial imprisonment may or may not have been motivated by politics, but this case has unquestionably been politicized."
According to the group Win With Black Women, which collaborated on the letter, more than a thousand Black women leaders from all over the country have asked Biden to strike a compromise to release Griner.
The letter, which was delivered to the White House on Tuesday, reportedly had approximately 1,200 Black women leaders in a range of professions, including entertainment, media, and sports.
They said that Griner's family in the United States is being cut off from consular contact and access.
For instance, according to the letter, Griner was meant to call her spouse last week to celebrate their wedding anniversary, but "after 11 attempts to reach Cherelle, there was no one at the State Department to connect Brittney's call."
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