Brittney Griner thanks supporters on 32nd birthday

Last week, President Biden said there had been no progress in discussing Griner's case with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Brittney Griner turned 32 on Tuesday, and she sent a message of appreciation to her fans.

According to The New York Times, Griner met with Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov, two of her Russian attorneys, for several hours on Tuesday. They said she appeared highly stressed ahead of the Oct. 25 hearing about her appeal of her drug-related conviction. 

Still, according to a statement the attorneys released on her behalf, the WNBA star is grateful for her supporters.

Brittney Griner
WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner stands in a cage in a courtroom prior to a hearing in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, in August. Griner sent a message of thanks to her supporters on Tuesday, Oct. 18, which was her 32nd birthday. (Photo: Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool Photo via AP)

“Thank you everyone for fighting so hard to get me home,” the statement said, according to the Times. “All the support and love are definitely helping me.”

Griner, who plays overseas in the WNBA off-season, has been detained in a Russian prison since March. Customs officers at the airport reportedly found her with two vape cartridges containing cannabis oil. She was given a nine-year prison sentence in August.

Griner’s defense lawyers said she had been prescribed cannabis for pain, according to theGrio.

The Times reported that Griner confided in her attorneys last week that she was having emotional difficulties and was pessimistic about her chances of getting released before serving her entire term. She is permitted to go outdoors once daily and spends the rest of her time in a tiny cell with two other inmates, sitting and sleeping on a specially expanded bed to fit her near 7-foot frame.

According to Boykov, Griner struggles as she waits for the appeals court hearing because it is “very difficult” for her to talk to her family. He said scheduling phone calls with Griner’s wife, Cherelle, had been challenging and that, as far as he knew, she had been unable to contact her parents or siblings since being detained.

TheGrio reported earlier this month that Cherelle Griner has claimed that her imprisoned wife is experiencing her weakest point and believes her existence is meaningless.

“She’s very afraid about being left and forgotten in Russia, or just completely used to the point of her detriment,” Cherelle Griner said of Brittney, theGrio reported.

Last Wednesday, President Joe Biden said there had been no progress in discussing Griner’s case with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to The Times.

The United States has said that the Kremlin wants to swap Griner for prominent Russians currently imprisoned in this country.

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