Dennis Rodman is convinced he was instrumental in the release of detained American Kenneth Bae because he wrote a letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

The missionary was arrested in the country in 2012, and sentenced to 15 years in jail, but he was released on Saturday (08Nov14) and flown back to the U.S. alongside fellow detainee Matthew Miller.

The former basketball player was criticised for befriending Jong-un while he set up sports camps in the country last year (13), but Rodman believes their friendship played a crucial role in bringing Bae home as he begged his pal to release the prisoner in a letter sent in January (14).

Rodman's letter, obtained by Tmz.com, reads, "I understand the crimes (Bae) committed, and ask you my dear friend, the highly respected Marshall Kim Jong-un for his release to show my country how loving and compassionate you and the (North Koreans) can be... I ask for your mercy to prisoner Kenneth Bae and would be eternally grateful for his safe return and make a big step towards bridging the gap between our two nations."

The leader never replied to the letter but Rodman is convinced his visits to Jong-un were instrumental, telling the website, "No doubt, our trips helped influence Kenneth Bae's release and I'm happy he is coming home safely."