In the statement, which was shared with the Wall Street Journal and other outlets on Friday, Griner’s family expressed their “sincere gratitude” to President Biden and others involved in ultimately successful efforts to end her wrongful detainment.
“We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to President Biden and his administration for the tireless work they did to bring Brittney home,” the Griner family wrote. “We would also like to extend a special thank you to Governor Richardson and Mickey Bergman of the Richardson Center for their work, as well as remaining in constant communication with us.”
Broadening their gratitude to also include all those who have continued to express their support since Griner’s initial detainment in February, the family pointed to the power of everyone’s “kind words” and also mentioned the family of Paul Whelan, a security exec and former marine who remains in Russian custody.
“We sincerely thank you all for the kind words, thoughts and prayers —including Paul and the Whelan family who have been generous with their support for Brittney and our family during what we know is a heartbreaking time,” the family said on Friday. “We pray for Paul and for the swift and safe return of all wrongfully detained Americans. We ask that you respect our privacy as we embark on this road to healing.”
As previously reported, Griner—who was arrested in Moscow in February in connection with hash oil cartridges—was freed this week as part of a prisoner exchange agreement in which U.S. authorities simultaneously released convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout.