American Freed After Months Of Detention In North Korea


The State Department says one of three Americans being held in North Korea, has been released.  Jeffrey Fowle, 56, was detained in June, allegedly for leaving a Bible in his hotel room.

At the time, North Korean state media said he had "acted in violation of the [North Korean] law, contrary to the purpose of tourism during his stay."

State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said Washington has tried for months to send a high-level envoy to North Korea to seek release of the three men.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest says the Pentagon provided Fowle with a flight home.

"While this is a positive decision by the DPRK, we remained focused on the continued detention of Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller and call on the DPRK to immediately release them," Earnest said referring to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

In June, NPR's Frank Langfitt reported that Fowle had "worked repairing streets in Ohio" and entered North Korea in April. The following month, the State Department urged Americans not to travel to North Korea because of the risk of detention.

Matthew Miller, 24, entered North Korea as a tourist in early April. State media there said he ripped up his tourist visa and demanded asylum. Miller was sentenced to six years hard labor last month for committing acts "hostile" to the regime.

Kenneth Bae, 45, variously described as a missionary and businessman, was arrested in 2012 and later sentenced to 15 years hard labor on charges that included attempted overthrow of the Pyongyang government.

Story source: NPR