Four months after being released from Russian custody, Brittney Griner is working on a memoir on the ordeal.
The book is slated for release next year and will detail the WNBA star’s imprisonment and arrest on Feb. 17, 2022, on drug-related charges, according to publisher Alfred A. Knopf.
“That day was the beginning of an unfathomable time in my life that I am only ready to share now,” Griner said in a statement released by Knopf on Tuesday. The Associated Press.
The Phoenix Mercury star traveled overseas to play for Russian women’s team UMMC Ekaterinburg in the offseason.
“The main reason I returned to Russia for work that day was to make my wife, my family and my teammates proud,” Griner added in the statement. “After 10 incredibly difficult months in detention, I am grateful to have been rescued and to be home. Readers will hear my story and understand why I am so grateful for the outpouring of support from people around the world.
Related story: Brittney Griner makes plea to help Americans detained abroad at NAACP Image Awards
The two-time Olympic gold medalist was taken into custody at Moscow airport after Russian officials said they found vaping cartridges containing hash oil in her luggage.
In May 2022, the US government released a statement saying Griner had been “wrongfully detained”.
Activists rallied for her release and said she was being used as a political pawn by Russia as it faced global condemnation for its invasion of Ukraine.
Griner was convicted in August and sentenced to 9 years in a brutal prison camp. She appealed the conviction in October, but the appeal was dismissed.
After months of lobbying by Biden administration supporters and diplomatic efforts, she was released in a 1-for-1 prisoner exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout on Dec. 8.
Knopf described the book as “intimate and moving”, adding that Griner will reveal “in detail his harrowing experience of his wrongful detention (as classified by the State Department) and the difficulty of navigating the Byzantine Russian legal system in a language she did not speak.”
WNBA star hopes to educate other Americans detained in Russia, including the wall street journal journalist Evan Gershkovich who was arrested last month for espionage, which the newspaper denied.
Griner also wants to draw attention to the case of Paul Whelan, a former Marine imprisoned in Russia since 2018, following a conviction for espionage.
Last year, Whelan spoke to CNN and denied being a spy. “I was arrested for a crime that never happened,” he said in a phone call from a Russian penal colony. Whelan added that he was “very disappointed” that the Biden administration had not done more to secure his release.
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