Jeffrey Fowle, the American Christian who has been held in North Korea since May, has been released. Fowle was arrested during a tourist visit to North Korea after leaving a Bible in his hotel room.
The 56-year-old had been awaiting a trial for his “crime” of Christian evangelism. Fowle had previously stated that he intentionally left the Bible, knowing that such an act was illegal in the country.
Two other Americans remain captive in North Korea. American tour operator Kenneth Bae has been held in the DPRK for nearly two years after engaging in religious activities; Bae has been sentenced to 15 years in a labor camp.
Matthew Miller, 24, entered the DPRK in April; Miller tore up his visa and allegedly asked for asylum in the country. Miller has been sentenced to six years of hard labor.
Secretary of State John Kerry said that Fowle’s release was a positive step but Bae and Miller should be returned to their home country as well. “We are very concerned about the remaining American citizens who are in North Korea, and we have great hopes that North Korea will see the benefit of releasing them also as soon as possible,” Kerry said.
Publication date: October 22, 2014