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North Korea to release detained U.S. human rights activist

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, February 5 (RIA Novosti) - North Korean authorities will release a U.S. human rights activist, detained in December last year for illegally entering the country, the state Korean Central News Agency said on Friday.

Robert Park, 28, was detained at the North Korean-Chinese border on December 24, after he crossed into North Korea over the frozen Tumen River separating the two countries.

Park's fellow activists said he intended 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 relevant organ of the DPRK (North Korea) decided to leniently forgive and release him, taking his admission and sincere repentance of his wrong doings into consideration," KCNA said.

Park is reportedly the leader of a coalition of more than 100 groups focusing on the country's notorious human rights conditions.

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

In March 2009, 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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