In her letter to Biden, Griner referred to the Fourth of July. “It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year,” she said, adding that she voted for the first time in the 2020 presidential election — and chose Biden.
Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, has publicly urged Biden to help free her wife. Last month, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, Griner’s agent, coordinated a letter to Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris from dozens of women’s and civil rights organizations. The letter said that Griner was enduring “inhumane treatment.”
“We now urge you to make a deal to get Brittney back home to America immediately and safely,” the letter said.
In April, the United States and Russia held a prisoner swap that freed Trevor R. Reed, a former U.S. Marine who had been held on assault charges for more than two years. In exchange, the United States released Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2011 for trafficking cocaine.
U.S. officials have not said whether they would consider a prisoner swap to free Griner.
Longstanding tensions between the United States and Russia and the ongoing war in Ukraine have complicated Griner’s situation, but government officials have said that securing her release is a priority.
Michael D. Shear contributed reporting.