Dennis Rodman travels to Russia to demand Brittney Griner’s release

“I got permission to go to Russia to help this girl”

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Dennis Rodman plans to travel to Russia to demand the release of basketball star Brittney Griner.

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Griner has been detained in Russia since February after she was caught entering the country with cannabis vape cartridges in her luggage. She was sentenced to nine years behind bars and fined 1 million rubles (about $21,000) earlier this month.

  1. FILE: Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury during Game 3 of the 2021 WNBA Semi-Finals at Desert Financial Arena on October 03, 2021 in Tempe, Arizona.  / PHOTO CHRISTIAN PETERSEN/GETTY IMAGES

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  2. FILE: Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury handles the ball during Game 3 of the 2021 WNBA Semi-Finals at Desert Financial Arena on October 03, 2021 in Tempe, Arizona.

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  3. Brittney Griner (left) has been detained in Russia since February 17 after she was found with vaping cartridges containing hash oil in her luggage.  PHOTO BY ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/POOL/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES AND JIM WATSON/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

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Prosecutors argued that Griner had approximately 0.7 grams of cannabis in her possession and she was charged with “large-scale drug transport”. In May, the U.S. government categorized Griner as “wrongfully detained.”

Rodman, 61, had previously visited the country in 2014, reportedly at the request of President Vladimir Putin.

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“I went there to represent America when it comes to basketball,” Rodman said after returning to the United States, per E ! Newadding that he thinks the Russian president is a “cool guy”.

The year before his visit with Putin, Rodman made headlines for his visits to North Korea and his budding friendship with leader Kim Jong Un.

“I’m sorry that my country and your country are not on good terms,” ​​Rodman, who originally traveled to the country for a basketball exhibition, reportedly told a sold-out crowd in North Korea then. that Jong Un was standing by his side. “But to me and your country, you are a friend for life,” Rodman added, via The New York Daily News.

“I got permission to go to Russia to help this girl,” Rodman reportedly said. BNC News at a restaurant in DC “I’m trying to go this week.”

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It’s unclear what kind of “permission” Rodman received, but a senior Biden administration official said NBC that “anything other than further negotiation through the established channel is likely to complicate and hinder release efforts”.

In July, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Reuters that Washington had made a “substantial offer” to Russia to release Griner and former US Marine Paul Whelan, who is currently serving a 16-year sentence for espionage.

It is believed the offer could include the release of Viktor Bout, the Russian arms dealer imprisoned in the US since 2011.

Rodman previously credited a letter he wrote to Jong Un as the impetus for the 2014 release of US prisoner Kenneth Bae.

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Bae, who spent two years in prison for planning to overthrow the North Korean government, was released in 2014.

Rodman’s letter about Bae allegedly began with the words “My dear friend for life, Marshall Kim Jong Un”, reports TIME.

Rodman would not need any special permission, beyond a visa from Moscow, to enter the country.

The US State Department advised American citizens currently in Russia to leave the country “immediately via one of the limited commercial options still available”.

A Notice to American travelers as Russia is currently warning not to travel to the country “due to the unprovoked and unwarranted invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces, the potential for harassment of US citizens by Russian government security officials , the singling out of U.S. citizens in Russia by Russian government security officials, including for detention, arbitrary local law enforcement, limited flights to and from Russia, limited embassy capacity assisting U.S. citizens in Russia, COVID-19 restrictions, and terrorism.

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