WASHINGTON, D.C. — Politicians on both sides of the aisle have come together in their efforts to get WNBA star Brittney Griner released from prison. Last week, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan resolution urging the U.S. government to secure her release from Russia.
“Brittney Griner has been wrongfully detained for four months and Russia is now engaging in theater by subjecting her to a sham trial in an effort to create a false pretense that she is anything other than a political prisoner,” said Congressman Colin Allred, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. “It’s unacceptable that Russia continues to violate international norms and I am proud that the House has spoken in passing our resolution and calling for her swift release. I will keep working with the Biden administration to do all we can to bring home every American detained abroad.”
Earlier this month, Spectrum News 1 reported on the resolution co-authored by Rep. Colin Allred, D-Texas, Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Ariz., and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas. Since her detainment, all three representatives have voiced their concerns with her arrest, which was made known to the public weeks after she was imprisoned.
Griner was arrested on Feb. 17 for allegedly having vape cartridges that contained hashish oil in luggage that was searched at the Sheremetyevo Airport near Moscow. In May, the U.S. government declared that Griner was “wrongfully convicted” causing them to place her case with the office of the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs.
“Not a day goes by that we aren’t thinking of Brittney and working to get her home,” said Stanton. “We will continue to push for her release and make sure that she is not forgotten.”
Her detainment has drawn more than just political figures to fight on her behalf. NBA stars like LeBron James and former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton have taken to social media to voice their displeasure with Russian officials and demand that Griner be freed.
Her trial began Friday, starting her 135th day in detainment. According to her lawyer, Alexander Boikov, the trial is expected to last about two months. According to reports, roughly 99% of criminal cases end in convictions in Russia. If convicted of the offense, the 31-year-old athlete could face up to 10 years in prison.
“I’m grateful for this overwhelming show of support from Congress. We need to be doing all we can to keep Brittney’s case on the forefront and finally put an end to this nightmare,” said Cherelle Griner, Brittney’s wife.
In an interview this week on Sirius/XM radio show, “Keepin’ It Real with Al Sharpton,” Cherelle said she still had not spoken with Brittney, only adding that the two had corresponded via mail.
“She’s telling me she’s okay,” Cherelle Griner said. “She’s like, ‘I’m okay, babe. I’m hardened. I’m not me right now. When I come home, it’s going to take me a minute to get back to myself. But I’m holding on. I won’t break until I come home. I won’t let them break me.’”