Rodman says he has permission to travel to Moscow and intervene in the release of the American basketball player.
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman said that he plans to travel to Russia to help in negotiations for the release of WNBA player Brittney Griner, sentenced to nine years in prison for drug possession and trafficking.
“I have permission to go to Russia to help that girl. I’m going to try to go this week,” the five-time NBA champion, who has emerged as a sort of informal diplomat after twice visiting North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, told NBC.
According to Rodman himself, thanks to a letter he sent directly to Kim Jong-Un, asking for clemency for U.S. citizen Kenneth Bae, a missionary sentenced in 2013 to fifteen years in prison, the latter was released.
In view of such statements, it became to light that the US government does not look favorably on Rodman’s intervention, since they are already carrying out a release process which they are taking charge of, “it is public information that the administration has made a significant offer to the Russians and anything other than negotiating further through the established channel is likely to complicate and hinder the release efforts”, confided an official of Joe Biden’s administration.
The process to free Griner, which began before his sentencing, proposed to the Russian government the exchange of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, a former US Marine accused of espionage by the Russian security services, for Victor Bout, a Soviet arms dealer also known as “merchant of death”, who is imprisoned in the United States.
Why was Brittney Griner arrested?
Brittney Griner was detained in February when she traveled to Russia to join the basketball league season during the competition break in the US.
During a search of her luggage at the airport, authorities found two vape cartridges containing cannabis oil. Although she stated that she had no criminal intent and his defense claimed that he was carrying the oil for medical reasons, he was sentenced to nine years in prison.
Despite the fact that his defense appealed the sentence, as the lawyers claim that in similar cases the penalties are lower, the Russian authorities have not changed the verdict; meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden called the sentence “unacceptable”.
As for the permission Rodman is talking about, he is referring to a visa from Moscow, since he does not need any kind of authorization from the United States, which has recommended its citizens not to travel to Russia for various reasons, including the invasion of Ukraine or the danger of being “unjustly” detained.
It should be noted that the relationship between the United States and Russia remains tense, as in the midst of the invasion of Ukraine, the case has become complicated against the basketball player and the defense is still looking for a way to obtain her release.
Story originally published in Cultura Colectiva NewsPodría interesarte