The families of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, U.S. citizens detained in Russia, pushed for their loved ones’ release during meetings with Joe Biden last week.
There is good reason for them wanting to be released as soon as possible.
According to one overseas prison expert, Griner is facing a ton of unhealthy things to happen to her the longer she stays.
“They face the reality of poor nutrition, sometimes no access to fresh air or actual daylight,” Amy Manson of Hostage US, an organization that offers various aids and resources to American hostages and their families, told Newsy, per INSIDER.
She added: “Some of our returnees face as much as 50 to 60 to 70 pounds lost. And then we’re talking about muscle wastage, as well as the impact on their bodies of constant poor nutrition and constant stress.”
Griner, who has been detained in Russia for months, pleaded guilty to drug smuggling charges in July. The two-time Olympic gold medalist was sentenced to 9 years last month.
The White House previously offered a proposal to swap arms dealer Viktor Bout for Griner and Whelan, an ex-Marine whose been detained in Russia.
Griner’s wife, Cherelle, released a statement after meeting with President Joe Biden.
“I want to thank President Biden for today’s meeting. It was an honor to speak with him directly about the Brittney we know and love, and to thank him for the Administration’s efforts to secure her release,” Cherelle said in a statement, per ESPN’s T.J Quinn. “I’ve felt every minute of the grueling seven months without her. I look forward to the day my wife is back home.”
Griner’s family and colleagues have continued to advocate for the Phoenix Mercury star’s release.