American Christian Imprisoned in North Korea Worked Six Days a Week Despite Pain, Health Issues

ICC Note: Kenneth Bae, a devout Christian and missionary, was detained in North Korea late last year. He was subsequently convicted of “hostile actions” against the state and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. The North Korean regime sees Christianity as a threat to its rule and the ideology of “Juche”, which demands that the population embrace their leader as a sort of demigod. As many as 70,000 Christians are estimated to be imprisoned in concentration camps around the country. Calls for Kenneth’s release on humanitarian grounds by the U.S. State Department have been ignored. 

8/17/2013 North Korea (CSW) – Kenneth Bae, the American Christian sentenced to 15 years of hard labour in North Korea, is reportedly seriously ill in a North Korean hospital. Detained last November, Bae was sentenced in May following a North Korean Supreme Court conviction for ‘state subversion’, asserting he used his tourism business to seek to overthrow their government.

According to Bae’s sister, Terri Chung, since his conviction he has been working in isolation, planting and ploughing potatoes and beans eight hours a day, six day a week. In addition to deteriorating from chronic diabetes, Bae was suffering a range of health problems, including an enlarged heart and back and leg pains, which necessitated his transfer to hospital.

Prayer meetings are being held for Bae in his native Seattle and an Internet signature campaign is urging US President Barack Obama to seek a ‘Special Amnesty’ for Bae with the North Korean government. In a letter dated 13 June to the Swedish Ambassador to North Korea, who has been his only visitor, Bae wrote, “The only way I can be free to return home is by obtaining amnesty.”

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