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WASHINGTON — WNBA star Britney Greiner, a native of Houston who was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison, is living in her “weakest moment,” according to her wife, who fears the two-time Olympic gold medalist will be taken to a labor camp. If US officials do not negotiate her release soon.
Sheryl Greiner, who has been married to Britney Greiner since 2019, spoke for the first time since her wife’s sentencing two months ago in an interview with CBS Mornings co-host Gail King that aired Thursday. In it, the Phoenix Mercury Center was described as a “hostage” in Russia.
On October 25, Russian court officials will hear Britney Grenier’s appeal against this prison sentence.
“Once the hearing is done and it’s over…she can be moved to a labor camp,” Cheryl Greiner said in the interview. “My brain can’t even comprehend it.”
Britney Greiner was arrested at Moscow airport in February after airport officials discovered e-cigarette packages and cannabis oil in her luggage. But news of her arrest did not spread in the United States until March. She pleaded guilty to smuggling drugs into the country. In August, a Russian court sentenced her to nine years in prison.
The White House is working to secure the release of Britney Greiner from Russia, where she has played professionally since 2014. The WNBA player has a prescription for marijuana in Arizona, but any amount of the substance is illegal in Russia.
There is also concern about the notoriously harsh conditions of Russian prisons and the treatment of Britney Grenier, who is gay, in a country known for the persecution of homosexuals.
“I say it’s strong because how are you still standing? How are you still alive going through this?” Sheryl Greiner said in an interview with CBS. “BG is in her weakest moment ever in life right now. She is so afraid of being left and forgotten in Russia.”
Sheryl Greiner and other supporters of the eight-time WNBA All-Star Championship have said it is being used as a political tool by the Russian government. The Biden administration said Britney Greiner is being unjustly held and has offered to trade prisoners for her release, according to multiple reports.
Sheryl Greiner said she believes President Joe Biden is doing his best to find a solution, but she doesn’t think his wife will be released until Russian President Vladimir Putin makes an honest effort to negotiate.
“I feel as if… [Biden’s] He does what he can, but there’s another party to this situation,” said Cheryl Greiner. “At this point, it would require Putin to have the same mindset… I’m going to sit at a table and be clear about what I need in return for her release.”
Britney Greiner plays for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury but plays abroad in Russia in the off season. Cheryl Greiner said his wife helped contribute to Russia during her time as a professional basketball player there.
Sheryl Greiner said Putin should view his wife as an asset who came to Russia to help “recognize this country through sport” and pay taxes in that country.
US Republican Senator. John Cornyn He was outspoken about the need to repatriate a Texan from Russian custody. After praising the prisoner exchange with Russia that freed Texans and ex-Marines Trevor ReidCorning He told KXAN-TV Austin in May He will continue to advocate for the release of Britney Grenier.
“We will continue to call, as we did with Trevor, for the release of these two Americans from this Russian prison,” Cornyn said, also referring to former Marine Paul Whelan, who has been held in Russia since 2018. “But unfortunately they are just bait for trade for Putin. He does not enter In these negotiations out of justice or compassion. He is looking for influence and something to get in return for what he offers.”
As US officials press for Britney Graner’s release, his wife said she’s had enough, saying she has “really suffered beyond her crime already”.