The resolution, which was similar to the one passed in the House of Representatives in June, was written by Sen. Mark Kelly and Sen. Kristen Sinema, both Democrats from Arizona, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Sen. John Cornyn. It was cosponsored by 27 other senators, including Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Raphael Warnock, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Cory Booker and Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“I’ve worked with the State Department to make sure that Brittney Griner’s safe return is a top priority, and this bipartisan resolution shows the Senate’s support for her as well,” Kelly said in a statement. “Brittney Griner is an inspiration to Arizonans and Americans across the country. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her and seeing her talent on the court up close. The Russian government unjustly detained Brittney and we will keep working with the administration to ensure her safe and swift return.”
The resolution called for the United States to “raise the case of Brittney Griner and push for her release” during all interactions with Russia. It also offered support for Griner’s family, Paul Whelan, another American who’s detained in Russia, and all other “prisoners unjustly imprisoned in the Russian Federation.” It also called for Russia to “provide consular access” to Griner as long as she’s in Russian custody and for Russia to “respect the human rights of Brittney Griner.”
Griner has been detained since Feb. 17 and pleaded guilty earlier this month on charges that she brought hashish oil into Russia. The charge comes with a sentence of 10 years.
In the May, the State Department reclassified Griner as being wrongfully detained. Earlier Thursday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that labeling Griner as wrongfully detained is disrespectful to Russian law.
“Arizonans have love and admiration for Brittney Griner both on and off the court,” said Sen. Sinema in a statement. “The Department of State has determined that Brittney was wrongfully detained – it’s past time for her to come home.”