- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The family of the Kenneth Bae, the American who’s been imprisoned by North Korea authorities for unclear causes, say they’re in shock and awe over comments made by former basketball great Dennis Rodman, who told a nationally televised audience that the man must have done something wrong to justify his capture.

“Do you understand what he did in this country? No, no, no you tell me, you tell me,” Mr. Rodman said, during a bizarre rant on CNN’s “New Day,” that saw him defend the basketball game he’s organized for his self-proclaimed “friend,” Kim Jong-un, in celebration of the despot’s birthday. “Why is he held captive in this country, why? I would love to speak on this.”


But after CNN’s Chris Cuomo interrupted that Mr. Bae has never been charged, Mr. Rodman quickly switched topics and spoke about the sacrifices of his basketball team recruits — that they had left their families behind so they could play the birthday game in North Korea.

Family members of Mr. Bae — a father of three who’s been sentenced to 15 years in a labor camp over accusations that he was trying to topple the government via distribution of religious materials — were outraged.

Mr. Bae’s sister, Terrir Chung, said on Anderson Cooper 360 that Mr. Rodman’s remarks were not only shocking, but dangerous. His mother, Myunghee Bae, meanwhile, said her son was only trying to spread a Christian message and did not understand the level of anger that might provoke in North Korea, where atheism is the prevailing belief.

“[Rodman] was in a position to do some good and to help advocate for Kenneth,” said Ms. Chung, on the CNN show. “He refused to do so. But then instead he has chosen to hurl these outrageous accusations against Kenneth. He clearly doesn’t know anything about Kenneth, about his case. And so we were appalled by that.”

She added, in CNN: “This isn’t some game. This is about a person’s life.”

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