Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

ICC NOTE: Kenneth Bae, an American Christian missionary, was the longest serving prisoner in North Korea since the Korean War. In a rare interview with Voice of America Bae speaks about his time in the labor camps, the trial, and how the regime wished to use him as a bargaining chip. Bae has been one of a handful of foreign nationals recently who have found themselves detained in North Korea. Most have been in the nation as Christian missionaries working either in a humanitarian capacity or risking their freedom and lives to bring the gospel to the Korean people. 

5/3/2016 Korea/United States (VOA) – Kenneth Bae, an American missionary who was detained in North Korea for more than two years, said Pyongyang tried to use him as a political bargaining chip.

In a rare interview with VOA’s Korean service last Friday, Bae described in detail the ordeal that made him the longest-held American by the North since the Korean War. The former detainee is releasing a memoir “Not Forgotten: The True Story of My Imprisonment in North Korea” this week.

Bae, 47, a South Korean-born naturalized U.S. citizen, was arrested in Rason, a city in North Korea’s northeast, in November, 2012 for carrying a computer hard drive containing his missionary work and a documentary video about the country. Bae said he was not aware he was bringing the items. But, several months later the North sentenced him to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly trying to overthrow the state.

Harsh sentence

“Even before the trial, they told me the sentence would not matter much. Instead, they said how the U.S. government acts after the trial would matter most,” said Bae.

The sentencing came amid escalating tensions between North Korea and the U.S. following Pyongyang’s third nuclear test.

“I felt a sense of rising tensions. North Koreans told me war with the U.S. was imminent,” the missionary recalled.

[Full Story]