According to ABC 13, at a rally held Monday at the Toyota Center in Houston, former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed, who was recently released after being imprisoned in Russia for nearly three years, described the “medieval” conditions Griner and American Paul Whelan are currently living under. He also noted how crucial it is to continue to support them.
“This is extremely important to bringing Americans home is the community and citizens getting involved and getting loud,” Reed said.
The event was organized by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) in conjunction with Houston declaring Monday “Brittney Griner Day.” The Phoenix Mercury center is a graduate of Houston’s Nimitz High School and Waco’s Baylor University.
Griner has been wrongfully detained in Russia since Feb. 17, when she was stopped in a Moscow airport after police say they found vape cartridges containing hash oil in her luggage. The two-time Olympic gold medalist has had her detention extended twice as she awaits trial. The situation has been made more difficult by the strained relations between Russia and the U.S.
After 985 days, Reed was returned to the United States during a prisoner exchange in April. He suffered numerous health issues while detained, including multiple bouts with COVID-19 and “coughing up blood for more than three months, with no care administered.”
“You will not receive medical treatment inside a Russian prison,” Reed said.
He went on to describe how dire things truly are for Griner and Whelan saying, “They live in a cell that looks like it’s something out of the Middle Ages. As an American, you can’t imagine what that place looks like until you actually see that for yourselves. Those conditions are what Brittney and Paul are living in right now as we’re having this conversation,” Reed added.
In recent weeks, NBA stars like Jayson Tatum and LeBron James have called for the WNBA champion’s release, while her teammates and opponents in the WNBA have continued to show their love by working with her charities and sending letters to the basketball star.
In an interview with Good Morning America, Griner’s wife Cherelle asked President Biden to do what it takes to bring Brittney home. “I just keep hearing that, you know, he has the power. She’s a political pawn,” she said. “So if they’re holding her because they want you to do something, then I want you to do it.”
It’s vital that we continue supporting and advocating for Brittney Griner. As a high-profile queer Black woman in a country with anti-LGBTQ+ laws, her case can go from bad to tragic if the Russian government seeks to use her as a political example.