When Otto Warmbier was flown home from North Korea last Tuesday, three other remained behind
When Otto Warmbier was flown home from North Korea last Tuesday, three other US citizens remained behind. The state department’s special envoy on North Korea, Joseph Yun, met with the three detainees while he was negotiating Warmbier’s release, and said he would like to see them freed as well, according to a state department spokesperson.
Here are the three US citizens who remain in North Korean prisons:
Kim Dong Chul
Kim Dong Chul’s detention was first revealed in January 2016 when he was interviewed by CNN. Kim claimed to be a naturalized US citizen from Fairfax, Virginia, who had been arrested while spying for South Korea. The interview took place in the presence of North Korean guards, CNN conceded that it could not determine whether Kim’s statements were made “under duress”.
Kim told CNN that he had been spying for “South Korean conservative elements” since April 2013.
Kim was sentenced to 10 years in prison with hard labor in April 2016 after being found guilty of espionage and subversion. According to CNN, he has a wife and two daughters living in China.
Ma Young-ae, a North Korean defector living in New York, told Reuters that Kim was a Christian missionary whom she had met and traveled with in 2007.
“He told the churches that he was a missionary working on North Korea and sending stuff from China into the North to help the North Koreans,” Ma said.
A professor of accounting at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), Kim Sang-duk was detained at the Pyongyang international airport on 22 April, when he was attempting to leave the country. The North Korean government said in May that Kim,…