The North Korean authorities have released
one of three American detainees being held in the country.
According to a brief statement issued by
the U.S. on the 21st, the man, Jeffrey Fowle, was transported from North Korea
on an aircraft provided by Washington at Pyongyang’s request and is now en
The statement noted, employing North
Korea’s official title, “We can confirm that Jeffrey Fowle has been allowed to
depart the DPRK and is on his way home to rejoin his family.” It added, “We
welcome the DPRK’s decision to release him.”
The U.S. went on to note that the government remains “focused on the continued detention of Kenneth Bae
and Matthew Miller,” the two remaining American detainees, and once again urged
Pyongyang to release them.
Fowle, a 56-year old resident of Miamisburg,
Ohio, was accused of leaving a bible in a bathroom in Chongjin, a major port city in North Hamkyung Province, earlier this year. However, he was never put on trial, whereas both
Bae and Miller were convicted of crimes and handed lengthy sentences. This
is likely to make it more complicated, and politically costly, to obtain the release of the remaining prisoners.