Brittney Griner Asks Supporters To Join Her In Writing Letters To Paul Whelan

Brittney Griner Asks Supporters To Join Her In Writing Letters To Paul Whelan

WNBA star Brittney Griner has asked her supporters to join her in writing letters to former Marine Paul Whelan, according to CBS News. Griner was released from a Russian penal colony on Dec. 8 in a trade that many hoped would include Whelan.

Griner shared the handwritten letter on Instagram complete with an address where supporters can reach Whelan. The 32-year-old also noted how much the letters she received while in Russia helped her to cope and not lose hope.

“Thanks to the efforts to many, including you, I am home after nearly 10 months,” she wrote. “You took time to show me you cared and I want to personally take the time to write to you and say that your effort mattered. Your letters helped me to not lose hope during a time where I was full of regret and vulnerable in ways I could have never imagined.”

“Your letters were also bigger than uplifting me,” she continued. “They showed me the power of collective hands. Together, we can do hard things. I’m living proof of that. My family’s whole and now, thanks to you, we are fortunate to get to spend the holidays together.”

“However, there remain too many families with loved ones wrongfully detained,” she said. “Those families stood alongside you and all who supported the WeAreBG Campaign to bring me home and it’s our turn to support them. I hope you’ll join me in writing to Paul Whelan and continuing to advocate for other Americans to be rescued and returned to their families.”


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Griner was released from captivity in a trade between the U.S. and Russia on Dec. 8. She was exchanged for convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout. Griner was arrested in Moscow last February after a vape cartridge was found in her luggage. The Biden administration had been working on a trade for Griner and Whelan. Whelan was arrested in Moscow in December 2018. He was convicted of espionage and sentenced to 16 years in prison. Biden said that he was unable to include Whelan in the trade due to Russia treating his case more seriously.

“Sadly and for totally illegitimate reasons, Russia is treating Paul’s case differently than Brittney’s. And while we have not yet succeeded in securing Paul’s release, we are not giving up,” said Biden.