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Published On: Wed, Sep 3rd, 2014

North Korea prisoners Kenneth Bae, Jeffrey Fowle, and Matthew Miller cry for help

Three Americans being held in North Korea were allowed to speak to the media on Monday, and plead for their release.

The three men, Kenneth Bae, Jeffrey Fowle, and Matthew Miller, called on the White House to send an official to negotiate their release, and delivered messages to their families back home, the Associated Press reports.

Kenneth Bae American Incarcerated in North Korea Image/Video Screen Shot

Kenneth Bae American Incarcerated in North Korea
Image/Video Screen Shot

Bae has been held in prison for over 20 months—the longest North Korean imprisonment of an American since the Korean War. Bae was working in the country as a tour guide, but officials allege that Bae’s North Korean tour company was a front for Christian evangelical missions.

“The only hope that I have is to have someone from the U.S. come,” he said. “But so far, the latest I’ve heard is that there has been no response yet. So I believe that officials here are waiting for that.”

Fowle has been held captive by the North Koreans since the end of April. He is accused of leaving a Bible in a nightclub, and is expected to face trial within a month for proselytising.

“Within a month I could be sharing a jail cell with Ken Bae,” Fowle told Associated Press reporters. “I’m desperate to get back to them.”

Matthew Miller reportedly arrived in their country, tore up his tourist visa, and proclaimed that he is seeking asylum in the country. Miller refused to comment on whether that allegation is correct. He has been detained since April 10.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the administration is still trying to secure his release.”We are very concerned about his health,” she told reporters in July.

“We have urged the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] authorities to grant him special amnesty and immediate release on humanitarian grounds.”

North Korea has been strongly pushing tourism lately in an effort to bring in foreign cash, but the State Department warns against as U.S. citizens are arrested and detained.

Jeff Fowle

Jeffrey Fowle is the latest American detained in North Korea

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