Rep. Stanton's resolution pushing to free Brittney Griner passes House

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Rep. Greg Stanton's resolution calling on the Russian Federation to release WNBA Phoenix Mercury basketball star Brittney Griner passed the U.S. House of Representatives on June 24.

The Democratic representative, whose current district is in Maricopa County, first introduced the resolution in May, along with Texas Democrats Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and Rep. Colin Allred.

The resolution also encourages the U.S. government to do everything within its power to ensure that Griner returns.

Brittney Griner has won two Olympic gold medals with USA Basketball including last summer in Tokyo.
Brittney Griner has won two Olympic gold medals with USA Basketball including last summer in Tokyo.

“Not a day goes by that we aren’t thinking of Brittney and working to get her home,” Stanton said in a written statement. “We will continue to push for her release and make sure that she is not forgotten.”

The 31 year old's pretrial detention has been delayed twice in a 30-day period and is now set for July 2, the Russian news agency TASS reported earlier this month.

Griner has been jailed since mid-February after she was allegedly caught at a Russian airport with vape cartridges that contained marijuana oil. The maximum penalty if convicted is a 10-year prison sentence.

The U.S. State Department classifies Griner as "wrongfully detained," a status that permits officials within the bureaucracy to push for her freedom before the Russian legal process is complete.

“This resolution sends a clear message: securing Brittney's release must be the highest priority of the U.S. Government, and we know the American people support every effort made to bring her home,” Terri Carmichael Jackson, executive director of the Women’s National Basketball Players Association, also said in the statement.

“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.

Tara Kavaler is a politics reporter at The Arizona Republic. She can be reached by email at tara.kavaler@arizonarepublic.com or on Twitter @kavalertara

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Stanton's resolution pushing to free Brittney Griner passes House