Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Americans in North Korea Plead for help

Two American tourists charged with "anti-state" crimes in North Korea have pleaded for the US government to help secure their release.

Matthew Miller and Jeffrey Fowle told the AP news agency they expected to be tried soon and given long prison terms.

The two men said they were in good health and had been treated well but expected conditions to get worse.

They were detained separately in April but both were accused of "committing hostile acts" while in the country.

Mr Fowle, 56, entered North Korea on 29 April and was detained in early June as he was leaving the country

He is said to have left a bible in the toilet of a restaurant in the northern port city of Chongjin but his family have insisted that he was not on a mission for his church.

North Korean authorities say Mr Miller, 24, entered the country on 10 April with a tourist visa but tore it up at the airport and shouted that he wanted to seek asylum

Speaking for the first time since being detained more than three months ago, Mr Miller said "the horizon for me is pretty dark.

"I don't know what the worst-case scenario would be, but I need help to extricate myself from this situation. I have been requesting help from the American government, but have received no reply," he added.

It is unclear whether North Korean officials were in the room at the time of the interview or if the men were being coerced.

Authorities say they are preparing to bring the men before a court, but the charges or potential punishment have not been specified. The date of the trial has not been announced.

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