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Published On: Thu, May 2nd, 2013

Kenneth Bae, American Christian detained in North Korea, sentenced to 15 years in labor camp

An American christian detained for nearly six months in North Korea has been sentenced to 15 years of labor for crimes against the state, the North’s state media said Thursday.

The sentencing of Kenneth Bae, described by friends as a devout Christian and a tour operator, comes amid signs of tentative diplomacy following weeks of rising tensions in the region.

Kenneth Bae (right)

Kenneth Bae (right)

Bae’s trial on charges of “committing hostile acts” against North Korea took place in Supreme Court on Tuesday, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported.

He was arrested in early November in Rason, a special economic zone in North Korea’s far northeastern region bordering China and Russia, state media said. The exact nature of Bae’s alleged crimes has not been revealed.

Friends and colleagues say Bae, a Korean American who was living in Washington state, was based in the Chinese border city of Dalian and traveled frequently to North Korea to feed orphans.

State media refers to Bae as Pae Jun Ho, the North Korean spelling of his Korean name.

Bae is at least the sixth American detained in North Korea since 2009. The others eventually were deported or released.

“North Korea is using Bae as bait to make such a visit happen. An American bigwig visiting Pyongyang would also burnish Kim Jong Un’s leadership profile,” Ahn Chan-il, head of the World Institute for North Korea Studies think tank in South Korea said.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. American Christian imprisoned in North Korea, Kenneth Bae, hospitalized with diabetes and an enlarged heart - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Bae, who was sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor for trying to overthrow the North Korean government, has diabetes and an enlarged heart, the BBC […]

  2. North Korea says Kenneth Bae, sentenced US citizen, is not a bargaining tool - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] week North Korea sentenced Kenneth Bae, a Korean American who traveled to visit North Korea last November, for what is said were crimes […]

  3. Brandon Jones says:

    US State Dept:

    “What we’re urging the DPRK authorities to do is to grant him amnesty and to allow for his immediate release, full stop.” – May 3, 2013

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