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U.S. rights activist arrested in N.Korea on border violations

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, December 29 (RIA Novosti) - North Korean authorities have detained a U.S. citizen, who crossed into the country from China to draw attention to human rights abuses in North Korea, South Korean Yonhap news agency said on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old Robert Park was detained at the North Korean-Chinese border on December 24, the news agency said. Park's fellow activists were quoted by Yonhap as saying he entered the country to call international attention to the large number of human rights violations in the communist state, which is believed to maintain several concentration camps for political prisoners.

The activists reportedly said Park, the leader of a coalition of more than 100 groups focusing on the country's notorious human rights conditions, crossed into North Korea over the frozen Tumen River separating the two countries.

Western media said the detainee was believed to be a member of a Christian organization called Life and Freedom for North Koreans: 2009.

Yonhap quoted a report by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) as saying the case was being investigated by a "relevant organ."

The U.S. State Department on Monday reportedly expressed concern over the detention.

In March, two American journalists were jailed after they illegally entered North Korea while working on a story about human trafficking. The journalists, sentenced to 12 years of hard labor, had spent more than four months in prison before they were freed as part of a U.S. diplomatic mission in August.

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