North Korea has deported an American citizen and humanitarian worker named as Sandrah Suh by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Wednesday.
The KCNA article says that Suh had committed acts against the government of the DPRK under the pretence of delivering humanitarian aid.
“A relevant institution of the DPRK investigated American Suh Sandra who had been engaged in plot-breeding and propaganda against the DPRK during her frequent visits to it under the pretext of ‘grant-in-aid’ for nearly 20 years,” the KCNA article read.
“The relevant institution decided to deport her, taking into full consideration her old age and by displaying the generosity of the DPRK law.”
The KCNA article claims that Suh had frequently visited North Korea since 1998 and during that time had “engaged in anti-DPRK propaganda abroad with photos and videos about the DPRK she secretly produced and directed, out of inveterate repugnancy toward the DPRK”.
The article also claims that Suh had admitted to doing so, apologized and asked to be pardoned.
Although the article did not name a humanitarian organization Suh was affiliated with, an individual by the same name is the founder of Wheat Mission Ministries (WMM) a Los Angeles based nonprofit, which has provided humanitarian aid to North Korea in the form of “medicine, medical equipment, food, building materials, clothes, shoes, blankets and building capacity internally for sustainable projects.”
“From teaching North Korean healthcare professionals how to treat certain medical conditions to building schools and orphanages, WM(M) has wide and varied interests and a desire to bring aid to DPRK,” the organizations website says, noting its staff conduct visits to North Korea four times a year for monitoring purposes. However despite being listed as the founder, Suh is not listed as being a current staff member.
WMM is also a Christian organization and openly advertises this fact.
“Our greatest desire is to follow God’s lead and to participate in the work that God is already doing inside North Korea,” the WMM website says.
It is not immediately clear what material KCNA is referring to when mentioning “anti-DPRK” propaganda but the WMM website indicates a hesitancy in publicizing certain material obtained during its work in North Korea.
“Because of the sensitive nature of providing videos, WM(M) is careful to post videos that are neutral in their content,” the Pictures and Video section of the website says.
The WMM Flickr page, however, has photos and videos from within North Korea, including footage of what appears to be its founder, Suh, at an orphanage in the country, though none appear to be taken covertly.
The WMM twitter account also shows a video of a North Korean defector’s speech from the The 3rd Lausanne Congress in Cape Town, a large scale evangelical Christian conference staged by the Lusanne Movement. In the video the North Korean defector speaks about her family leaving North Korea and embracing religion. The video was tweeted in 2011 and the organizations Twitter and Facebook accounts have been inactive since June 2, 2013.
NK News attempted to reach WMM however no comment or confirmation of the information could be provided at this point in time and it remains unclear if the individual mentioned in the KCNA article is in fact the WMM founder or, if so, was conducting WMM affiliated work when expelled.
The deportation follows the recent announcement that the Country Director for German NGO Welthungerhilfe, Regina Feindt, had been expelled from North Korea in late February.
Welthungerhlife provides aid in order to improve food security in regions around the world and had been operating in North Korea since 1997. No reasons were provided for the expulsion.
A South Korean born Canadian Reverend, Hyeon Soo Lim, was also recently detained by North Korean authorities after entering the country in late January on what was described by representatives from his Church as a routine humanitarian visit. No further news on his whereabouts or condition has since been provided by the North Korean government.
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Featured Image: North Korea through the fog by southtopia on 2010-11-05 10:20:19