Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia since 17 February after Russian authorities claimed to have found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage.

The openly gay Olympic gold medallist and player for Phoenix Mercury is currently on trial and faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Lindsay Kagawa Colas, Griner’s agent, confirmed that a handwritten letter from the basketball player was delivered to the White House on Monday (4 July) and that Biden has read it. 

Excerpts from the letter read: “… 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.

“On the 4th of July, our family normally honors the service of those who fought for our freedom, including my father who is a Vietnam War Veteran.

“It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.”

Griner implored Biden to do everything in his power to free her and allow her to return home, “​​Please do all you can to bring us home. I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you. I believe in you.

“I still have so much good to do with my freedom that you can help restore. I miss my wife! I miss my family! I miss my teammates! It kills me to know they are suffering so much right now.

“I am grateful for whatever you can do at this moment to get me home.”

Cherelle Griner, Brittany’s wife, shared her disappointment at not having any direct contact with the White House since the letter was delivered.

“I still have not heard from him and honestly, it’s very disheartening,” she said on CBS Mornings. 

The White House National Security Council (NSC) confirmed that the administration believes the “Russian Federation is wrongfully detaining Brittney Griner”.

“The US government continues to work aggressively – using every means – to bring her home,” said NSC spokeswoman Adrienne Watson. 

Since her arrest, Griner has not been able to hear her loved ones’ voices but she has received “sporadic written communication” through an email account set up by her agent.

The emails are printed out and, after being vetted by Russian officials, are delivered in bunches to Griner. 

The basketball player’s trial is set to resume on Thursday (7 July), but fewer than one percent of defendants in Russian criminal cases are acquitted and in Russia, acquittals may be overturned.