Prayer vigil held at Russian Consulate in support detained WNBA star Brittney Griner

UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) — A prayer vigil was held at the Russian Consulate in New York City, to show support for basketball superstar Brittney Griner, who could face years in prison after she was arrested in February for having hashish oil.

The pictures of 31-year-old American basketball star Brittney Griner in a Russian courtroom, show a woman frightened and unfamiliar with a world she cannot escape.

Reluctantly, she’s playing, for the first time in her life, a game she cannot dominate.

Friends and supporters of Griner gathered Wednesday night at the Russian consulate to convince two countries with clashing ideologies, to find their common humanity.

On February 17, a week before Russia invaded Ukraine, Griner was arrested at a security checkpoint at an airport near Moscow and accused of possession of hashish oil.

For her family back home, each of the 132 days since, feels like a lifetime.

“Every single day matters for me to be sound, for me to be alert, for me to be attentive to make sure that she comes back, but its hard. It’s hard,” wife Cherelle Griner said.
“She’s a teddy bear, she wouldn’t hurt a soul, she’s a sweetheart, she would give the shirt off her back for anybody,” lifelong friend Janell Roy said.

Roy has been friends with Griner since childhood. Griner texted her from the police station and told Roy that she was scared.

“I’m scared. I don’t know what’s going to happen … and that was the text message I got and after that I kept asking her, ‘are you okay,'” Roy said.

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The family has not been told what steps, if any are being taken to bring Griner home, but whatever the effort, Griner remains in prison with her trial scheduled to start on Friday.

If convicted, and in Russia, 99% of defendants are convicted, she could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

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