July 21, 2022

Wyden, Cornyn, Colleagues Call on Russia to Release Brittney Griner From Wrongful Detention

Bipartisan Senate resolution urges U.S. government to press for WNBA player’s release, supports all prisoners unjustly imprisoned in the Russian Federation

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and John Cornyn (R-TX) today led colleagues in the introduction of a bipartisan Senate resolution calling on the Russian government to immediately release U.S. citizen Brittney Griner from her wrongful detention, and urging the U.S. government in all its interactions with the Russian government to press for the WNBA player’s release.

In addition to demanding action to end the 5-month-long wrongful detention of Griner, the resolution also expresses support for U.S. citizen Paul Whelan and all prisoners unjustly imprisoned in the Russian Federation.

“The Russian government’s cruel treatment of Brittney Griner demands a full-court press spotlighting her wrongful detention since February and the unjust imprisonment of all U.S. citizens in Russia,” Wyden said. “The fact that this resolution has secured support from senators in both parties shows clearly the urgency of Ms. Griner’s immediate release so she can resume thrilling fans on the basketball court, inspiring Americans with her leadership off the court in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and of course returning to her friends and family working so hard for her release.”

The Senate resolution is a companion to a similar resolution already passed by the House. In addition to Wyden and Cornyn, other co-sponsors of the Senate resolution are U.S. Sens. Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Ted Cruz (R-TX) Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ),  Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Robert Casey (D-PA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Chris Coons (D-DE), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).  

“Arizonans have love and admiration for Brittney Griner both on and off the court. The Department of State has determined that Brittney was wrongfully detained – it’s past time for her to come home,” said Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema.

“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. 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,” said Senator Kelly.

“We can’t let Ms. Griner and other Americans being detained in Putin’s Russia become the victims of geopolitical events and autocratic war,” said Senator Warnock after introducing the resolution. “It’s been 154 days since Ms. Griner was detained in Russia, and the strong support for this bipartisan resolution demonstrates that Senators from both parties agree that we need to be doing all we can to bring her home.”

The entire Senate resolution is here.