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Friday, May 03, 2013
The United States is calling on North Korea to release a Korean-American Christian sentenced to 15 years hard labor.
Washington state resident Kenneth Bae, 44, entered North Korea on a tourist visa. Authorities arrested him on Nov. 3 in the city of Rason near the border with China and Russia.
"Part of our concern here - and we've had long-standing concerns about the lack of transparency and due process in the North Korean legal system," U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said. "So, now that Mr. Bae has gone through the legal process, we urge the DPRK to grant him amnesty and immediate release."
North Korea's Supreme Court convicted Bae of attempting to topple the government and other unspecified "hostile acts" against the state.
Doo Hee Yoon, an activist based in South Korea, told AFP he may have been detained for photographing emaciated children.
Friends and colleagues say Bae is a devout Christian who frequently travelled to North Korea to feed orphans.
Bae's sentencing comes amid heightened tensions between North Korea and the United States. He is the sixth American to be detained by the communist state since 2009.
One leading analyst says North Korea is using Bae as bait to get a high-profile American to visit the country.
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