The family of detained WNBA star Brittney Griner says they’re grateful for the White House’s effort to secure her release, after meeting with Joe Biden on Friday.
“I want to thank President Biden for yesterday’s meeting as well as the Administration for its efforts to secure my wife’s release,” Cherelle Griner, Brittney’s wife, wrote in the caption of an Instagram post with a photo of herself and the president over the weekend. “It was an honor to speak with him directly about the Brittney we know and love. I’ve felt every minute of the grueling seven months without her. I look forward to the day my wife is back home.”
“As my family and I continue on this journey, I’d like to thank the broad coalition of friends, leaders and supporters who continue to stand with us and advocate for Brittney’s swift and safe return,” she added. “Let’s share a unified commitment to bringing all Americans home to their families and loved ones.”
Brittney Griner was arrested in February in Russia on drug possession charges and convicted in August, after she was found with vape cartridges containing hash oil in a Moscow airport.
The Griner family has previously been critical of the Biden administration for not doing more to secure the basketball star’s release.
“They’re not moving, they’re not doing anything,” Cherelle Griner said in July. “So my wife is struggling, and we have to help her.”
The president spoke with Ms Griner’s family this summer via phone.
Brittney Griner is currently facing a nine-year prison sentence, and has filed an appeal of her conviction.
Her lawyers say there’s still considerable doubt over what comes next.
"Brittney is stressed and very much concerned with the future," attorney Maria Blagovolina told PEOPLE.
In June, the White House offered to exchange Ms Griner and another detained American, Paul Whelan, for Viktor Bout, an infamous Russian arms dealer serving a federal prison sentence in the US for conspiring to sell arms to a Colombian rebel group deemed a terrorist organisation.
Officials said last week Russia hasn’t responded to the offer.
“We have made a serious offer to get Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan back home,” National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said on Friday. “The Russians have not responded to that offer. But that doesn’t mean that we’re not still in negotiations and we’re not still trying.”