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North Korea Court Sentences American To Six Years Hard Labor

The Supreme Court of North Korea sentenced one of  three American prisoners to six years of hard labor on Sunday for allegedly committing “hostile acts” as a tourist inside the country.

According to a Reuters report, Matthew Todd Miller, 24, is the second US citizen to serve a hard labor sentence in the secretive state of North Korea.

The Korea Central News Agency said the following of  Miller: “He committed acts hostile to the DPRK while entering the territory of the DPRK under the guise of a tourist last April.”

The Korean version of the statement said Miller’s punishment serves as a “labor re-education” sentence.

According to earlier reports, Korean officials accused Miller of unruly behavior after tearing up his visa at the Pyongyang airport and ordered for an asylum. In a previous interview with CNN and Associated Press, Miller said he already apologized for his crime but did not say if he sought for an asylum.

Miller, who was from Bakersfield, California, was traveling on a private trip without foreign guides, according to Uri Tours, the company that organized his trip.

North Korea has not disclosed further details about Miller’s charges, but the state media released photographs from the trial, showing some of Miller’s personal possessions, including his passport, phone, notebook and North Korean visa – which appeared ripped.

The first U.S. citizen sentenced to hard labor in the Korea was Kenneth Bae, a missionary accused of building an underground network that aims to overthrow the North Korean government.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Fowle, 56, an Ohio municipal worker, is also awaiting trial on charges of committing hostile acts. He entered North Korea in April and tried to leave the country after having left a Bible behind at a bar.

All three sought help of a high-ranking U.S. diplomat to secure their release. However, there are no developments known yet; the U.S. has no direct diplomatic ties with North Korea and relies to the Swedish Embassy to represent American interests in the secretive state.

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