North Korea releases U.S. citizen after more than 6 monthsMay 27th, 2011 - 8:06 pm ICT by BNO News
PYONGYANG (BNO NEWS) — North Korean state media on Friday reported that American citizen Young-su Jun, who is also known as Eddie Jun, has been released on humanitarian grounds after more than 6 months.
Young-su was arrested in North Korea in November 2010 on charges of crimes against the country, although details of the ‘crimes’ were not released. “The investigation proved that Jun committed serious crime against the [Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)] which he frankly admitted himself,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Friday.
According to previous media reports from South Korea, Young-su was detained for ’spreading Christianity’ when he was caught handing out Bibles in North Korea. It was not possible to confirm those reports, but a number of U.S. churches have engaged in missionary visits to North Korea.
The sudden release comes days after Robert King, the U.S. State Department’s special envoy for Human Rights and Humanitarian Issues, visited North Korea and met with government officials. Among the issues discussed was the arrest of Young-su.
“Robert King [..] expressed regret at the incident on behalf of the U.S. government and assured that it would make all its efforts to prevent the recurrence of [a] similar incident,” KCNA reported. Earlier, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter also tried to secure Young-su’s release.
“Taking all this into account, the DPRK government decided to set him free from the humanitarian stand,” KCNA said. “During his detention, the DPRK allowed him to make regular contacts with the consul of the Swedish embassy representing the U.S. interests in the DPRK as well as correspondence and phone call with his family. It also gave him hospital treatment for his health reason.”
The U.S. and North Korea do not have diplomatic relations and the Swedish embassy serves as a protecting power for the U.S. in the Asian country. The U.S. State Department said last week that Swedish representatives had already made seven visits to Young-su.
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