Brittney Griner: Russia Ready to Discuss Prisoner Swap
Cherelle Griner fears she won’t be able to see her wife Brittney Griner again.
In a preview for her upcoming interview with Gayle King for CBS Mornings, the WNBA star’s wife spoke about her feelings over the potential fate of the athlete as she remains imprisoned in Russia for drug charges.
“As much as everybody’s telling me a different definition of what BG is, it feels to me as if she’s a hostage,” Cherelle said about Brittney in the Oct. 5 clip. “It terrifies me because when you watch movies, sometimes those situations don’t end well. Sometimes they never get the person back.”
She continued, “This is my life and so I’m sitting there like, do we get her back? Do I ever get to see my wife again? The fact that everything’s so unprecedented and everything is changeable. I feel like every day, I’m hearing something new and so it’s just kind of like, it’s terrifying.”
Brittney, who plays for a Russian basketball team during the WNBA’s offseason, was arrested in February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport for possession and smuggling of vape cartridges containing cannabis oil. She pleaded guilty, adding that she made an “honest mistake.” Her lawyers also told the Russian court she had a medical marijuana prescription back home to treat a chronic injury. But on Aug. 4, she was found guilty of the drug charges and sentenced to nine years in prison.
Since the Phoenix Mercury player’s arrest, Cherelle has been in touch with her wife herself through letters and email and has met with President Joe Biden, who said in a statement after her sentencing, “Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney. It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates.”
Later in August, Brittney’s lawyers filed an appeal in her case. A hearing has been scheduled Oct. 25, which the Biden administration says they are following.
“We are aware of Russia’s announcement that Brittney Griner will be forced to undergo another sham judicial proceeding,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during an Oct. 4 press briefing. “She should be released immediately. As we have said many times, Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan have been wrongfully detained by Russian authorities.”
In June, the U.S. government proposed to Russia that it release Brittney and Whelan, a former Marine serving 16 years in prison over a 2020 espionage conviction, in exchange for imprisoned Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, according to multiple reports.
On Oct. 4, Jean-Pierre told reporters, “We want Russia to take the offer that we have put on the table—a substantial offer, as you’ve heard us say many times—seriously…or they can make a serious counter-offer. But they need to make a serious counter-offer.”
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