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Britney Griner asks fans to write to wrongfully detained American prisoner Paul Whelan as he approaches four years jailed in Russia… after her release earlier this month

Britney Griner has called on her supporters to ‘advocate for’ other wrongly detained Americans such as Paul Whelan following her release from a Russian penal colony.

Griner, who was released on December 9, was imprisoned for nearly 10 months after being stopped at the Moscow airport and being accused of having vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her possession.

And while she was finally released in a prisoner swap for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, she’s now steering her focus onto others like Whelan who remain wrongfully detained.

Britney Griner spent nearly 10 months imprisoned in Russia before being released this month

Britney Griner spent nearly 10 months imprisoned in Russia before being released this month

She smiled on the flight back as she headed Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio

She smiled on the flight back as she headed Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio

‘Your letters were also bigger than uplifting me. They showed me the power of collective hands. Together we can do hard things,’ she said in the letter, which was posted to Instagram.

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‘I’m living proof of that. My family’s 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.

‘Those families stood alongside you and all who supported the #WeAreBG campaign to bring me home, and it’s our turn to support them. 

‘I hope you’ll join me in writing to Paul Whelan and continuing to advocate for other Americans to be rescued and returned to their families.’

Whelan, a former US Marine, was arrested by Russian authorities on December 28, 2018, and charged with espionage.

Paul Whelan has spent nearly four years behind bars in Russia after what he called a 'sham trial'

Paul Whelan has spent nearly four years behind bars in Russia after what he called a ‘sham trial’

He was convicted of his alleged crimes in June 2020 and sentenced to 16 years in a maximum security prison.

After thanking fans from ‘the bottom of my heart’, Griner signed off by including Whelan’s mailing address.

While President Biden was criticized in some circles for having to leave Whelan behind while Griner was freed, the 52-year-old’s own family supported the President’s decision.

Whelan’s brother, David Whelan, told the Associated Press that the Biden administration  ‘made the right choice’ in accepting the prisoner swap for Griner.

‘Sadly, for totally illegitimate reasons, Russia is treating Paul’s case differently than Brittney’s,’ Biden said. ‘And while we have not yet succeeded at securing Paul’s release, we are not giving up. We will never give up.’

Griner was first taken to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, rather than her home in Phoenix, upon arriving in the United States.

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The site regularly treats people who have experienced trauma like Griner’s.

The WNBA star previously said on social media that she intended to return to the court and play for the Phoenix Mercury this season.

And according to ESPN, she did a light basketball workout earlier this month. 

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