Date
19 November 2017
Jeffrey Fowle, 56, had been charged with "anti-state" crimes after he reportedly left a Bible in the toilet of a restaurant in the northern port city of Chongjin, where he was traveling as a tourist. Photo: AFP
Jeffrey Fowle, 56, had been charged with "anti-state" crimes after he reportedly left a Bible in the toilet of a restaurant in the northern port city of Chongjin, where he was traveling as a tourist. Photo: AFP

North Korea frees US citizen Jeffrey Fowle

North Korea has freed Jeffrey Fowle, one of three Americans detained in the country, after nearly six months in detention.

US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf confirmed that Fowle, 56, was on his way home on Tuesday following negotiations, BBC News reported.

Pyongyang had asked the United States to transport Fowle out of the country as a condition for his release.

Harf said Washington was working to secure the release of two other US nationals, Matthew Miller and Kenneth Bae, who remain in detention in North Korea.

Fowle entered North Korea on April 29 and was detained in early June as he was leaving the country, according to the British broadcaster.

He was reported to have left a Bible in the toilet of a restaurant in the northern port city of Chongjin, where he was traveling as a tourist.

He was charged with “anti-state” crimes. Missionary activity is considered a crime in North Korea.

In August, he and fellow detainee Matthew Miller made a televised appeal to the US government to help secure their release.

Miller was later sentenced to six years’ hard labour for committing “hostile acts”.

Harf thanked Sweden, which serves as the US protecting power in North Korea, for the “tireless efforts” of its embassy in Pyongyang, the BBC said.

Washington has accused North Korea of using the detained Americans as pawns in a diplomatic game. Pyongyang has denied the allegation.

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CG

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