US basketball player Brittney Griner has been in Russian custody for months for drug smuggling. Shortly after the trial began, she sent a letter to US President Joe Biden.

US basketball player Brittney Griner, who has been in prison in Russia since February on charges of drug smuggling, has asked US President Joe Biden to work for her release. She is sitting alone in a Russian prison and is “very afraid that I could be here forever,” says the handwritten letter to Biden, excerpts of which Griner’s family published on Monday.

“I’m aware that you have so much to do, but please don’t forget me and the other American prisoners,” writes the two-time Olympic champion. “Please do whatever you can to bring us home.”

Brittney Griner writes letter to Biden

“I miss my wife! I miss my family! I miss my teammates!” the 31-year-old athlete continues. “It is killing me to know that they are suffering so much now. I am grateful for whatever you can do to bring me back home.” The letter was delivered to the White House on Independence Day on Monday.

The trial of Griner began last Friday. The star player of the US professional league WNBA, who also played in Russia, was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in mid-February. According to authorities, officers found cartridges for e-cigarettes with cannabis oil in Griner’s luggage. The amount was less than a gram of solid cannabis, prosecutors said.

Detained in Russia for drug smuggling

Drug smuggling in Russia carries a prison sentence of up to ten years. The next hearing in the trial is scheduled for Thursday.

Griner’s arrest came amid diplomatic tensions in the days leading up to Russia’s February 24 war of aggression against Ukraine. The US State Department has criticized Griner’s detention as groundless.