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Dennis Rodman travelling to Russia to seek the release of Brittney Griner

Aug 22, 2022 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
View the original article here.

‘I got permission to go to Russia to help that girl’

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Dennis Rodman is planning to travel to Russia to seek 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 a fine of 1 million rubles (about $21,000) earlier this month.

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

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  2. FILE: Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury handles the ball during Game Three of the 2021 WNBA semifinals 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 Feb. 17 after being found with vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage. PHOTO BY ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/POOL/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES ANDJIM WATSON/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

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

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

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“I went over there to represent America as far as basketball is concerned,” Rodman said after returning to the U.S., per E! News, adding that he believes Russia’s president is a “cool guy.”

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

“I’m sorry my country and your country are not on good terms,” Rodman, who initially visited the country for a basketball exhibition, reportedly told a sold-out crowd in North Korea as Jong Un stood by his side. “But for me, and your country, you’re a friend for life,” Rodman added, via The New York Daily News.

“I got permission to go to Russia to help that girl,” Rodman reportedly told NBC News at a restaurant in D.C. “I’m trying to go this week.”

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It’s not clear what type of “permission” Rodman has received but a senior official with the Biden administration told NBC that “anything other than negotiating further through the established channel is likely to complicate and hinder release efforts.”

In July, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Reuters that Washington had made a “substantial offer” to Russia to release Griner and ex-U. S. Marine Paul Whelan, who is currently serving a 16-year sentence on espionage charges.

It’s believed that the offer could include releasing Viktor Bout, the Russian arms dealer who has been jailed in the U.S. since 2011.

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

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

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

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

The U.S. Department of State has advised U.S. citizens currently in Russia to depart the country “immediately via one of the limited commercial options still available.”

A U.S. travel advisory for Russia currently warns not to travel to the country “due to the unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces, the potential for harassment against U.S. citizens by Russian government security officials, the singling out of U.S. citizens in Russia by Russian government security officials including for detention, the arbitrary enforcement of local law, limited flights into and out of Russia, the Embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia, COVID-19-related restrictions, and terrorism.”

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