Trevor Reed, a former U.S. Marine who was recently freed after being detained in Russia for more than two years, called for Moscow to release WNBA star Brittney Griner at a Monday rally in Texas.
Reed appeared at a rally that was hosted by Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and the local NAACP chapter in Griner’s hometown of Houston, ABC affiliate KTRK-TV reported.
“There is no justice in Russia,” Reed said at the rally, according to a CNN report. “Brittney and Paul will not receive justice in Russia. They’re not going to receive a fair trial, they will not receive a fair investigation. They will be there as hostages until the United States gets them out.”
Reed also urged advocates to work with one another to call for the release of Griner and Paul Whelan, a Canadian-born American resident who is also detained in Russia, saying that contacting state and federal lawmakers is the best option to demand action on the matter, CNN noted.
“Write them, call them, annoy them, don’t leave them alone,” Reed said. “Tell them you want Brittney home and you want the rest of the Americans who are being wrongfully detained home, and you want it done now.”
Reed and his parents said they expected Griner would face more harassment in Russia because of her race and sexual orientation.
It has been nearly two months since Reed was released from Russian detainment as part of a prisoner exchange involving a Russian national jailed in the U.S. on drug trafficking charges.
The Women’s National Basketball Players Association has called on the Biden administration to use every resource possible to bring Griner back to U.S. soil. Griner plays professionally for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury but has played for a Russian team during the offseason for several years.
“There is so much heartbreak and hurt in our country right now. @POTUS, please use all available resources to get #BrittneyGriner home. We need something to rally around and build upon,” the union said in a tweet.
Griner, whose case was recently classified as a “top priority” by the State Department, has been detained in Russia for the last three months after being accused by Moscow authorities of illegally having vape cartridges containing hashish oil with her at an airport.
Griner’s manager, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, also said that the Olympic gold medalist has been able to receive written communication and messages from family and loved ones during her over 100 days of detainment in Moscow.