Three detained Americans in North Korea, including Kenneth Bae, Jeffrey Edward Fowle, and Matthew Todd Miller, talked to CNN and asked the US government to intervene for their release. The US government on Monday asked North Korea to release the three Americans.
09/02/2014 North Korea (Guardian)-The American government on Monday asked North Korea to release three Americans currently held in the communist country, after foreign media outlets were allowed to interview detainees.
“Out of humanitarian concern for Jeffrey Fowle, Matthew Miller, and their families, we request the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] release them so they may return home,” said Jen Psaki, spokesperson for the State Department, in a statement.
“We also request the DPRK pardon Kenneth Bae and grant him special amnesty and immediate release so he may reunite with his family and seek medical care.”
Bae, 46, a Christian missionary, is serving a 15-year sentence in North Korean labor camps for an alleged plot to overthrow the government of the secretive state. Interviews with two more prisoners, Miller, 24, and Fowle, 56, were also aired. Soon after, US diplomats began calling for North Korea to release the three men.
Miller was detained for allegedly ripping up his US visa and asking for asylum. Fowle was detained for leaving a Bible in a North Korean bathroom.
The three Americans were allowed to speak to foreign media under state supervision. Bae told CNN and the Associated Press that his health was making his situation especially urgent.
“Right now, like last month and a half, my health’s been, or so, it’s been failing,” Bae told CNN. He said he had been going “back and forth” from the labor camp to hospital for the last year and a half. “What I can say for my family and friends is continue to pray for me, and continue the effort of getting me released here,” Bae said.
Bae’s family told the Associated Press he suffers from severe back pain, an enlarged heart, diabetes and liver problems. He told reporters that he works eight hours a day, six days a week, and has lost 15lbs since he returned from his most recent stint at a hospital.
Patrick Ventrell, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said in a statement to Reuters: “We have seen the reports of interviews with the three American citizens detained in North Korea.
“Securing the release of US citizens is a top priority and we have followed these cases closely in the White House. We continue to do all we can to secure their earliest possible release.”