Brittney Griner turned 32 years old today, Oct. 18, in a Russian prison where she is being held in her cell 23 hours a day.
The WNBA star’s birthday marks the 243rd day since she was arrested at a Moscow airport for smuggling cannabis oil in her luggage.
The Phoenix Mercury center was sentenced in August to nine years in prison.
She is reportedly suicidal after prisoner swap negotiations stalled between Russia and the United States.
A lawyer for the basketball star told The New York Times that “she has not been in as good condition” and that she is only allowed outside once a day.
“She is not yet absolutely convinced that America will be able to take her home,” Alexandr D. Boykov said. “She is very worried about what the price of that will be, and she is afraid that she will have to serve the whole sentence here in Russia.”
Boykov said Griner fears she will be moved to a labor camp where the conditions are brutal and prisoners are fed once per day.
A close aide to Russian president Vladimir Putin said Griner’s release is not Russia’s priority and that President Joe Biden only mentioned her due to the upcoming elections.
According to The Guardian, Yury Ushakov said the Biden administration proposed a prisoner swap for Griner to improve Biden’s public image.
“In this tense situation, I think that he is thinking first and foremost about the upcoming midterm elections so he keeps emphasizing the need to bring back home the basketball player who was detained for drug smuggling. However, it’s not the main issue that we are concerned about,” Ushako told Rossiya-1.
Biden met with Griner’s family at the White House in September. He also exchanged letters with her.
According to The Guardian, Biden has said that he would meet with Putin at the G20 summit if the conversation is about Griner.
“Look, I have no intention of meeting with him,” Biden said. “But, for example, if he came to me at the G20 and said, ‘I want to talk about the release of Griner,’ I would meet with him.”
Griner has appealed her conviction, but she is reportedly in despair and has given up hope of being released.