The two-time Olympic gold medalist was arrested in February at a Moscow airport and will remain in pretrial detention until at least June 18, according to Russian state media. Russian authorities claimed to have found cannabis oil in Griner’s luggage and accused her of smuggling significant amounts of a narcotic substance, an offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
“There is no justice in Russia,” he said. “Brittney and Paul will not receive justice in Russia. They’re not going to receive a fair trial, they will not receive a fair investigation. They will be there as hostages until the United States gets them out.”
“Every day that you’re in prison there, it’s like you’re waking up to a nightmare,” he said.
“Write them, call them, annoy them, don’t leave them alone,” he said. “Tell them you want Brittney home and you want the rest of the Americans who are being wrongfully detained home, and you want it done now.”
Communication with Griner possible, agent says
“While sporadic, written communication from her wife, family, friends and global sport community has been a source of comfort for BG during her wrongful detainment, going without real time, regular contact with loved ones is inhumane,” agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas said. “It has been over 105 days since BG has heard her wife or family’s voice. It remains clear that Brittney Griner is being used as a political pawn and it is imperative that President Biden do whatever is necessary to return Brittney home quickly and safely.”
Griner’s case is being handled by the office of the US Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs (SPEHA) Roger Carstens, a State Department official confirmed last month, which coordinates government diplomatic efforts securing the release of Americans wrongfully detained abroad.
The office may have more flexibility in efforts to negotiate Griner’s freedom as it does not necessarily have to wait for Russian legal proceedings to play out.
“There was blood all over the wall there — where prisoners had killed themselves, or killed other prisoners, or attempted to do that,” Reed said.
“The toilet’s just a hole in the floor. And there’s, you know, crap everywhere, all over the floor, on the walls. There’s people in there also that walk around that look like zombies,” he continued.
A State Department spokesman told CNN in April that the Griner and Whelan cases remain top priorities for the US.
“To everyone listening: go to WeAreBG.org and sign the petition, call the White House and call everyone you know. If you know anyone in the Biden administration, CALL THEM,” the association said in a statement.
CNN’s Kevin Dotson, Jacqueline Rose, Jennifer Hansler, Maegan Vazquez and Brian Todd contributed to this report.