TribLIVE

| News

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Americans in N. Korea beg U.S. for help as trials on vague charges draw near

AP - In this image taken from video, U.S. citizen Jeffrey Edward Fowle speaks at an undisclosed location in North Korea Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. Two Americans, Fowle and Matthew Todd Miller, charged with ?anti-state? crimes in North Korea say in a video that they expect to be tried soon and possibly receive long prison terms, and appeal for help from the U.S. government. They made the comments in the video shot by a local AP Television News crew. The crew was taken to a location to meet the detained Americans after repeated requests to North Korean authorities to see them. (AP Photo/APTN)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>In this image taken from video, U.S. citizen Jeffrey Edward Fowle speaks at an undisclosed location in North Korea Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. Two Americans, Fowle and Matthew Todd Miller, charged with ?anti-state? crimes in North Korea say in a video that they expect to be tried soon and possibly receive long prison terms, and appeal for help from the U.S. government. They made the comments in the video shot by a local AP Television News crew. The crew was taken to a location to meet the detained Americans after repeated requests to North Korean authorities to see them. (AP Photo/APTN)
AP - In this image taken from video, U.S. citizen Matthew Todd Miller speaks at an undisclosed location in North Korea Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. Two Americans, Miller and Jeffrey Edward Fowle, charged with ?anti-state? crimes in North Korea say in a video that they expect to be tried soon and possibly receive long prison terms, and appeal for help from the U.S. government. They made the comments in the video shot by a local AP Television News crew. The crew was taken to a location to meet the detained Americans after repeated requests to North Korean authorities to see them. (AP Photo/APTN)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>In this image taken from video, U.S. citizen Matthew Todd Miller speaks at an undisclosed location in North Korea Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. Two Americans, Miller and Jeffrey Edward Fowle, charged with ?anti-state? crimes in North Korea say in a video that they expect to be tried soon and possibly receive long prison terms, and appeal for help from the U.S. government. They made the comments in the video shot by a local AP Television News crew. The crew was taken to a location to meet the detained Americans after repeated requests to North Korean authorities to see them. (AP Photo/APTN)

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By The Associated Press
Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, 7:54 p.m.
 

PYONGYANG, North Korea — Two American tourists charged with “anti-state” crimes in North Korea said Friday they expect to be tried soon and pleaded for help from the U.S. government to secure their release from what they say could be long prison terms.

In their first appearance since being detained more than three months ago, Matthew Todd Miller and Jeffrey Edward Fowle told an AP Television crew that they were in good health and were being treated well. They said they were allowed to take daily walks. The brief meeting was conducted under the condition that the specific location not be disclosed.

Fowle said he fears his situation will get much worse once he goes on trial.

“The horizon for me is pretty dark,” he said. “I don't know what the worst-case scenario would be, but I need help to extricate myself from this situation. I ask the government for help in that regards.”

It was not clear whether their comments were coerced.

North Korea says the two committed hostile acts that violated their status as tourists. It has announced that authorities are preparing to bring them before a court, but has not yet specified what they did that was considered hostile or illegal, or what punishment they might face.

Ri Tong II, a North Korean diplomat, at a news conference at the United Nations said only that they had “violated our law.”

Fowle arrived in North Korea on April 29. He is suspected of leaving a Bible in a nightclub in the northern port city of Chongjin, but a spokesman for Fowle's family said the 56-year-old from Miamisburg, Ohio, was not on a mission for his church. Fowle works in a city streets department. He has a wife and three children.

“The window is closing on that process. It will be coming relatively soon, maybe within a month,” Fowle said of his trial. “I'm anxious to get home, I'm sure all of us are.”

Less is known about Miller, or about what specific crime he allegedly committed.

North Korea's state-run media have said the 24-year-old entered the country April 10 with a tourist visa, but tore it up at the airport and shouted that he wanted to seek asylum.

“I expect soon I will be going to trial for my crime and be sent to prison,” Miller said. “I have been requesting help from the American government, but have received no reply.”

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Allegheny

  1. City, ex-manager of Pittsburgh police Office of Personnel and Finance reach settlement
  2. School credit ratings a problem for several in Western Pennsylvania
  3. Newsmaker: Megan Cicconi
  4. W.Va. authorities charge 87 with drug trafficking
  5. Boy Scouts’ end to ban on gay leaders unnerves religious groups
  6. ‘Turf battle’ blamed in fights that canceled Carrick church festival
  7. Pittsburgh man jailed on theft, assault and drug charges
  8. Remains of 4 early colonial leaders discovered at Jamestown
  9. Western Pa.’s ties to 2016 White House race extend beyond Santorum
  10. Rising East Liberty out of reach for Pittsburgh’s poor
  11. Projects advance through Pittsburgh planning commission despite opposition