North Korea to try two U.S. tourists

American citizens could face lengthy prison sentences
June 30th, 2014
1

North Korea will try two American tourists who were detained earlier this year, a statement issued by state media outlet the Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Monday.

Matthew Miller and Jeffrey Edward Fowle, who the KCNA said perpetrated “hostile acts” after entering the DPRK, were investigated by a “relevant organ of the DPRK”.

“Suspicions about their hostile acts have been confirmed by evidence and their testimonies,” the KCNA said, without giving details of when the two would be tried.

Based on previous cases, there is suspicion the tourists could face lengthy prison sentences.

“Judicial systems like theirs don’t have not guilty verdicts…They have correct judgments, guilty verdicts, and subsequent acts of great generosity,” said Christopher Green, international editor at the Daily NK.

“Not guilty is an admission of the state being wrong. The state is never wrong. The state (or party, or leader, whatever) represents the external canon against which right and wrong are judged,” he added

24 year old Todd, who was on a private tour with American company Uri Tours at the time of his arrest, ripped up a visa and tried to claim asylum upon his arrival in Pyongyang.

Fowle, a 56 year old, was detained for leaving a bible in a public place, sources previously told Kyodo News.

In November 2012, American North Korea tour operator Kenneth Bae was detained and sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor for “hostile acts against the state” ­ preaching Christianity. Bae was arrested while in possession of a valid travel visa for the DPRK and remains in prison.

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About the Author

Chad O'Carroll

Chad O'Carroll has written on North Korea since 2010 and writes between London and Seoul.