Brittney Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, said that her wife’s last phone call from Russia, where he is being held, was “disturbing.”
Cherelle and Brittney have talked on the phone twice since Brittney was taken into custody by Russian police for bringing vape cartridges through a Moscow airport. The first one happened in August and left Cherelle feeling hopeful. The second one, on the other hand, made her feel cold, as she said in an interview with CBS News that aired on Thursday.
The Russian Court will listen to Griner’s appeal later this month.
“It was just so delightful just to hear her voice,” Cherelle Griner said of the first call, adding that it left her thinking her wife “could survive this.”
Cherelle Griner said that during their second call, she could tell that Brittney “was not OK.” Brittney pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine years in prison in August. “If you think about just a person’s suffering and when they have suffered to a max … she was at the max that day.”
“There was nothing I could do,” she added. “It was like 30-second to 2-minute range of her just sitting on the phone just literally in tears, just crying. It’s just the most still, I think, moment I’ve just ever shared with my wife. I didn’t have words. I don’t know if she has anything left in her tank to continue to wake up every day and be in a place where she has no one.”
Cherelle Griner says that after the call was disconnected, she couldn’t stop crying for two or three days because her interactions with Brittney were so sad.
The star basketball player had a court date set for October 25 for her appeal. Since 2014, she has played basketball in Russia during the off-season of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).
During the trial, she admitted that she was responsible for the cartridges but said it was an accident. Even though she admitted it, the US thinks Griner is being held “illegally” because of the federal law called the Levinson Act. This decision is made based on a number of factors, such as whether or not the country holding the U.S. citizens plans to use them as political pawns and whether or not they are being treated fairly by their own legal systems.
The State Department said in July that the U.S. had made a “substantial proposal” to bring her and Paul Whelan, another American the government thinks is being wrongfully held, back to the U.S., but it looks like there hasn’t been much progress on a deal since then. Even though administrations usually don’t say anything until citizens who were wrongfully detained are on their way back, the Biden administration hasn’t said anything that suggests they will be coming back soon.