Dec 22, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Griner writes thank you note to fans: "Because of you I never lost hope"

US WWNBA player Brittney Griner,waits for the verdict inside a defendants' cage during a hearing in Khimki outside Moscow, on August 4, 2022.

Brittney Griner waits for the verdict inside a defendants' cage during a hearing in Khimki outside Moscow on Aug. 4. Photo: Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

WNBA star Brittney Griner published a note Wednesday thanking her fans for their support and sending mail while she was detained in Russia.

Driving the news: "Your letters helped me to not lose hope during a time where I was full of regret and vulnerable in ways I could have never imagined," Griner wrote in the note posted on her Instagram late Wednesday.

  • "Because of you I never lost hope," she added.
  • She also urged her supporters to join her in "writing to Paul Whelan and continuing to advocate for other Americans to be rescued and returned to their families."

The big picture: Griner earlier this month was released from Russian detention in a prisoner swap with convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout.

  • U.S. officials maintain that they are still "negotiating" for the release of former Marine Paul Whelan, who has been held in Russia since 2018.

What she's saying: "Your letters were also bigger than uplifting me," Griner wrote. "They showed me the power of collective hands."

  • "My family is whole and now, thanks to you, we are fortunate to get to spend the holidays together."
  • "However, there remain too many families with loved ones wrongfully detained," she added.

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