Joe Biden vows to make release of basketball player Britney Grenier a priority

He says he made it a priority. US President Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have called the wife of Britney Grenier, the American women’s basketball star who is being held in Russia, and vowed to release her as soon as possible. The president called Cheryl [Griner] To reassure her that he is working to secure Britney’s release as quickly as possible.”The White House announced, Wednesday, July 6, in a press release. During that call, the President also read Sheryl Greiner a draft letter that he intends to send to the two-time (2016, 2020) Olympic gold medalist.

Cannabis vapes and e-liquid

Britney Greiner will be tried in Russia for drug smuggling and smuggling. The Phoenix Mercury player has been arrested in Moscow airport on February 17 After discovering it in his handbag “electronic newspapers” And the’“liquid with a special smell” of hemp oil, according to the Russian Federal Customs Service.

She came to Russia to play there during the American slump season, a common practice for basketball players in the Women’s National Basketball Association, the American Women’s Professional Basketball League, who sometimes make a better living abroad than at home. She faces up to ten years in prison. featured in 1Verse July, before a court near Moscow, his trial was finally postponed to Thursday, July 7.

The issue is very sensitive politically, at a time when relations were at their worst between the United States and Russia, due to the latter’s invasion of Ukraine.

The letter was delivered on July 4 to the White House

“Sitting here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, my family, my friends, my Olympic jersey, or whatever I’ve achieved, I am terrified at the thought of ‘staying here forever’”wrote the hero in a letter he deposited symbolically at the White House on July 4, United States Independence Day. “I know you have to deal with a lot of things, but please don’t forget me and the other American detainees.”Basketball player writes.

Britney Greiner’s teammates lamented the lack of attention, especially from the media. “Indignation is not strong enough”Brianna Turner said on the sidelines of a game against the Los Angeles Sparks. ” if it was [la star de NBA] LeBron James O [la légende du football américain] Tom Brady, that would make the headlines every day.”and criticized Sophie Cunningham, another player.

On Tuesday, US President’s spokeswoman Karen-Jean-Pierre was questioned about the letter. She said curtly: The president read the letter. This issue is one of the president’s priorities (…). He’s doing everything he can.”. Karen-Jean-Pierre added that several high-ranking officials were in regular contact with the hero’s family.

prisoner exchange

“We want to end this practice, whether in Russia or in any other country, of unlawfully detaining Americans or foreign nationals for political gain.”State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Tuesday.

When asked about criticism from Britney Grenier’s family or colleagues about the mobilization, he confirmed that the Biden administration does not want to “Do or say anything that could hurt” release chances. “We of course understand the families’ desire to draw as much attention to their property as possible.”Ned Price confirmed.

In May, Washington announced that Russia held out “unfairly” The 31-year-old star. His case is now in the hands of the US special envoy responsible for those being held hostage, on the US side.

Americans and Russians accuse each other of detaining their citizens for political purposes. Many prisoners have been exchanged in the past. In April, former US Navy SEAL Trevor Reid, who was sentenced to nine years in Russia for violence, was exchanged for a Russian pilot, Konstantin Yaroshenko, who has been imprisoned in the United States since 2010 for drug smuggling.

Other exchanges of this kind will be the subject of talks. Among the names mentioned most often are Paul Whelan, the American who was sentenced to sixteen years in prison for espionage and claimed his innocence, and the famous Russian arms dealer Victor Bout, who was arrested in Thailand in 2008 and is serving a twenty-year sentence. Five years in prison in the United States.

Le Monde with the Associated Press and Agence France-Presse

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