North Korea Releases American Tourist Jeffrey Fowle, Two Americans Remain

An American tourist who was arrested in May in North Korea after leaving a Bible in a club has been released and is returning home, U.S. officials announced on Tuesday.

Jeffrey Fowle, 56, was flown from North Korea aboard a U.S. military plane to a naval base in Guam. It is unknown when he will continue his trip back to Ohio, but he has been seen by a doctor. Harf declined to provide additional details about how Fowle’s release was secured out of concern for two others who remain detained in the country, the Wall Street Journal reported.

As a condition of his release, North Korea demanded that the U.S. government transport him out of North Korea within a specific time frame, according to Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman.

Fowle’s release was facilitated by Sweden. The United States does not have formal diplomatic relations with North Korea. The U.S. had tried several times to send a high-level representative to the country for the release of the three Americans. The most recent refuse was last month.

[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Marie Harf” author_title=”State Department spokeswoman”]

While this is a positive decision by the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), we remain focused on the continued detention of Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller and again call on the DPRK to immediately release them.



Two Americans are still detained by North Korea. Kenneth Bae, 46, a Korean American tour operator, has bee held for nearly two years. Bae was sentenced to fifteen years of hard labor for religious activities that were allegedly aimed at undermining the North Korean government. Bae has been transferred back and forth between hospitals and a labor camp, the Los Angeles Times reported.

While North Korea has many state-controlled churches, the totalitarian regime forbids any independent religious activities, which are viewed as a threat to the government, CNN reported.

Miller, 24, was arrested in April and accused of attempted espionage. He was sentenced to six months of hard labor. Miller allegedly tore up his tourist visa and sought asylum when he entered North Korea. At his trial, North Korea’s Supreme Court said Miller had admitted to an “ambition” to experience prison life and secretly investigate human rights conditions in the country.

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