WNBA STAR BRITTNEY GRINER SENTENCED TO 9 YEARS IN RUSSIAN JAIL
The following can be attributed to Kierra Johnson, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force:
“This sentence is both excessive and wrong. We have watched for months as Brittney Griner has been used as a political pawn, even as she has made clear that she did not intend to break any laws. Her case has mobilized millions of people – not just fans but anyone concerned with human rights.
It is time for the U.S. government to do everything they can to bring Brittney home. The trial is over. More serious negotiations to bring her home safely must begin now. We must advance the negotiations in process, out of concern for her safety and to get her home to her wife and family as soon as possible.
To be clear: Brittney has played for both countries; she has helped build bridges, she is not someone who should be detained for this long on a minor charge. She helped Russia win championship league trophies and she has helped U.S. win Olympics; she is beloved in Russia and in the US, where her family wants her to come home.
We all know the real reason for this trial and the way Russia had handled her detention: their transparent attempt to give themselves legitimacy and threaten the U.S. and other countries they are in conflict with by holding her for as long as necessary and refusing to negotiate any return.
Brittney Griner has been caught in the middle of the conflict and sanctions imposed on Russia. With tensions between the U.S. and Russia are at the highest they have been in decades we have seen the lives of Brittney and others like Paul Whelan have their futures and lives held on the whim of a government that is using them as leverage to retaliate against sanctions and the international condemnation for their actions.
We will not stop advocating for her release and return to the U.S., now in the heads of the Biden Administration and the State Department. Bring Brittney home!
We support her appeal and stand with Brittney and her family, friends and supporters.
Brittney said it best in a recent letter to President Biden:
“(As) I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey, or any accomplishments, I’m terrified I might be here forever…”
For her sake and for all those who care about Brittney, we urge the Biden Administration to do all they can to make sure she is returned to us as soon as possible.”