Matthew Todd Miller, 56, and Jeffrey Edward Fowle, 24, two Americans detained in North Korea for three months on charges of “anti-state” crimes, officially sought help from the U.S. government in an interview with a local AP Television interview Friday.
AP reports Miller and Fowle described their quickly approaching trials and their concern over inevitably long prison sentences. Fowle, who arrived in North Korea on April 29, is being charged for leaving a Bible in a nightclub in Chongjin, a northern port city. He is married with three young children at home. AP noted “state-run” media in North Korea’s have said Miller “entered the country April 10 with a tourist visa, but tore it up at the airport and shouted that he wanted to seek asylum.”
In the interview, Fowle pleaded for help from American officials.
“The horizon for me is pretty dark,” Fowle said. “I don’t know what the worst-case scenario would be, but I need help to extricate myself from this situation. I ask the government for help in that regards. I’m anxious to get home, I’m sure all of us are.”
AP reported it “was not clear whether they were speaking on their own initiative, or if their comments were coerced” during the interview.
“I expect soon I will be going to trial for my crime and be sent to prison,” Miller said. “I have been requesting help from the American government, but have received no reply.”
The detainees told the AP crew they were “in good health … and were allowed to take daily walks.” The location of the interview was not disclosed.
The U.S. has reportedly offered to send Robert King, special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, to Pyongyang to seek pardon for American detainees but has had no success in its efforts.
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