The US House of Representatives has passed a resolution calling on the Russian government to immediately release Brittney Griner. The 31-year-old top basketball player has been in a Russian cell since mid-February because drugs were found in her luggage.

    Democratic Representative Greg Stanton’s resolution was supported by both Democrats and Republicans in the House.

    In addition to calling on Russia to immediately release Griner from prison, the resolution also expresses support for the US government’s efforts to free the basketball star.

    “Every day we think about Brittney and how we can get her home,” Stanton said in a statement. “We continue to press for her release and will do everything we can to ensure that she is not forgotten.”

    Stanton has served as mayor of Phoenix and has been serving in the United States House of Representatives since 2019 on behalf of a congressional district in the state of Arizona. Griner has been under contract with WNBA club Phoenix Mercury since 2013, with which she became champion in the United States in 2014.

    Cherelle Greiner, wife of Brittney Griner, says she is grateful for the support from American politics. “We must do everything we can to continue to raise awareness of Brittney’s case so that we can finally put an end to this nightmare.”

    Brittney Griner had to appear briefly in a Moscow court last month.

    Brittney Griner had to appear briefly in a Moscow court last month.

    Brittney Griner had to appear briefly in a Moscow court last month.

    Photo: AP

    Griner is wrongly detained, US says

    Griner was arrested more than three months ago at the Moscow airport. According to the Russian authorities, she would have had cannabis oil and vape parts in her luggage. She could face a maximum prison sentence of ten years for this.

    Griner’s arrest was not announced by Russia until two weeks later. The Russians had invaded Ukraine in those two weeks. The US government fears that Griner is being used by the Russians to put pressure on the US, which has imposed heavy sanctions on Russia over the war in Ukraine.

    The US State Department ruled in May that the basketball star is “unjustly detained by the Russian government”, according to the US.

    Griner is considered one of the best basketball players in the world. Like many top American basketball players, she plays for a Russian club outside the WNBA season. The 2.06 meter long center has been under contract with top club UMMC Yekaterinburg since 2014. She was on her way from Russia to the US in February when she was arrested.