Brittney Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, said in a new interview that the WNBA star is effectively a “hostage” in Russia, where she’s currently serving a nine-year prison sentence for drug possession.
In a preview clip of a full-length interview with “CBS Mornings” host Gayle King, Cherelle said she never thought two world leaders would have to meet to discuss the “freedom of my wife.”
“It’s like a movie for me,” Cherelle explained. “I’m like, ‘In no world did I ever think, you know, our president and a foreign nation president would be sitting down having to discuss the freedom of my wife.’ And so to me, as much as everybody’s telling me a different definition of what B.G. is, it feels to me as if she’s a hostage.”
The two-time Olympic gold medalist was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison on Aug. 4 for allegedly carrying cannabis in vape containers while entering a Moscow airport in February.
Her lawyers appealed the Russian court’s decision on Aug. 15, and now, the Moscow region court will hear the appeal on Oct. 15, according to The Associated Press.
There have been long-standing talks about a prisoner swap that would bring Griner and former U.S. marine Paul Whelan to the U.S. in exchange for a Russian arms dealer, Viktor Bout, but no further confirmation has been established.
Cherelle has been in contact with President Joe Biden and the White House for months hoping that Biden would bring Brittney home swiftly.
After a meeting with Biden in the Oval Office in September, she thanked him and his administration for “its efforts to secure my wife’s release” in a post on Instagram.
“It was an honor to speak with him directly about the Brittney we know and love,” Cherelle wrote in the caption. “I’ve felt every minute of the grueling seven months without her. I look forward to the day my wife is back home.”
She also thanked “friends, leaders and supporters who continue to stand with us and advocate for Brittney’s swift and safe return” before adding: “Let’s share a unified commitment to bringing all Americans home to their families and loved ones. Together We Are BG.”