'Terrified' Griner asks for freedom in letter to Biden

American basketball star Brittney Griner asked US President Joe Biden to free her from a Russian prison in a handwritten letter Monday, portions of which were made public by her family.

Two-time Olympic champion Griner, detained in Russia since February on drug smuggling charges, told Biden she fears she might never be freed.

"As I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey, or any accomplishments, I'm terrified I might be here forever," Griner wrote.

Griner's trial began Friday on charges she tried to smuggle vape cartridges with hashish oil into Russia. She faces up to 10 years in prison. The next hearing in her case is set for Thursday.

US officials have said Griner is being wrongfully detained by Russia, where she has played in the Women's NBA off-season in previous years.

Griner, arrested only days before Russian troops invaded Ukraine, won a 2014 WNBA crown with the Phoenix Mercury. She's a two-time league scoring champion and eight-time All-Star center.