Brittney Griner asks her supporters to defend Paul Whelan, a prisoner held in Russia

Brittney Griner called on her followers in a social media post to defend Paul Whelan, a former Marine serving a 16-year prison sentence in Russia on espionage charges the United States says are baseless.

The United States had sought the release of Whelan and Griner – the WNBA star detained at a Moscow airport in February for having vaping cartridges containing cannabis oil – but Russia agreed to n trade that Griner for convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout. Griner returned to the United States earlier this month and Bout was sent to Russia.

In a handwritten note posted to her Instagram account on Wednesday, Griner told her followers that their letters and advocacy for her release had a big impact, and she asked them to do the same for Whelan, who was arrested in Russia. Four years ago. She included an address where supporters can send letters to the imprisoned American.

“I hope you will join me in writing to Paul Whelan and continuing to advocate for more Americans to be rescued and returned to their families,” Griner wrote.


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