Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia for over three months after being accused of having vape cartridges in her luggage containing hashish oil. Since, not much has come out about the WNBA star’s condition in prison or even where she’s being held.
Cherelle Griner, Brittney’s wife, is now speaking out about what she’s learned from her spouse. During an interview with Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts, Cherelle says that she learned about Griner’s detainment from Brittney herself. She explains that her wife had been in Russia playing basketball during her off-season from the WNBA, and was detained at the airport getting ready to return.
“She started texting me around 2 am that morning,” said Cherelle, who also noted that Brittney said that the customs officials grabbed her and placed her in a room. Brittney’s phone was then taken from her and they’ve been communicating via letters since.
Cherelle also expressed her gratitude for President Joe Biden’s attempts at getting her wife out of prison and back to America. This week, it was reported that Biden, in an effort to bring Griner back to the U.S., has offered Russian convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout to Russia in a prisoner exchange.
“I was grateful for the call, he says she’s top priority but I want to see it. At this point I don’t even know who I’d be getting back,” said Cherelle.
Griner was detained on February 17 by Russian Federal Customs Service at Sheremetyevo Airport near Moscow after agents allegedly discovered hashish oil vape cartridges in her luggage, The New York Times reported.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist with the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury stands accused of transporting drugs, which can carry a 10-year prison sentence.
The U.S. has officially classified Griner as being wrongfully detained. According to CNN, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs (SPEHA) and Roger Carstens, a State Department official, confirmed Griner is wrongfully detained.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the classification was made "in coordination with the hostage negotiator [Carstens] and the State Department."
She continued, "But typically, and I don't believe this will change, in order to, to leave the space to have an outcome we all want and desire, which is to bring her and any Americans detained or unjustifiably detained home, we typically don't talk about it extensively.”
Watch Cherelle Griner’s full interview with GMA below.