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In a handwritten word posted to Instagram, WNBA megastar Brittney Griner thanked supporters for writing to her whilst she used to be imprisoned in Russia and recommended them to do the similar for Paul Whelan, an American who stays incarcerated within the nation.

Griner, who used to be launched from custody after U.S. and Russian officers agreed on a prisoner switch previous this month, stated Wednesday that the letters she won all the way through her 10-month imprisonment helped her keep positive all through the ordeal.

“Your letters helped me not to lose hope all the way through a time the place I used to be stuffed with feel sorry about and susceptible in techniques I can have by no means imagined. Thanks, from the ground of my middle. As a result of you I by no means misplaced hope,” she wrote.

“Your letters have been additionally larger than uplifting me,” she endured. “They confirmed me the facility of collective arms. In combination, we will be able to do laborious issues. I’m case in point of that. My circle of relatives’s entire and now, due to you, we’re lucky to get to spend the vacations in combination. Then again, there stay too many households with family members wrongfully detained.”

Griner then requested her fanatics to improve Whelan, who’s been in Russian captivity for 4 years over accusations of espionage. She incorporated a mailing cope with that his circle of relatives has made to be had.

“I am hoping you’ll sign up for me in writing to Paul Whelan and proceeding to suggest for different American citizens to be rescued and returned to their households,” she wrote of the previous Marine, who started a 16-year sentence in 2020.

Griner’s imprisonment and liberate has renewed passion in Whelan’s case, which President Joe Biden has stated remains to be a most sensible precedence in spite of the Kremlin’s refusal to barter over his liberate. Russia’s allegations of spying, which Whelan maintains are false, have made him a extra necessary prisoner to the federal government, while Griner used to be handiest held for coming into the rustic with vaporizer cartridges containing not up to 1 gram of hash oil.

However the variations between the 2 instances haven’t stopped Republicans from accusing the White Area of prioritizing Griner over Whelan and implying that Griner, who’s Black, used to be much less worthy of liberate on account of her protests in opposition to racism and police brutality.

Amongst them is former President Donald Trump, who disregarded the newly freed Griner as “a basketball participant who overtly hates our Nation” and referred to as the prisoner switch an “unpatriotic embarrassment.” He additionally slammed the Biden management for failing to protected Whelan’s liberate, even supposing Trump used to be silent at the prisoner’s state of affairs all through a lot of his personal presidency.

Whelan and his circle of relatives, then again, have stated why his case is extra difficult. In a observation upon Griner’s liberate, his circle of relatives applauded Biden for making “the deal that used to be imaginable, fairly than looking ahead to person who wasn’t going to occur.”


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