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American Missionary's Health Deteriorates in North Korea Prison - Report

RIA Novosti

14:00 11/08/2013

MOSCOW, August 11 (RIA Novosti) - An American Christian missionary imprisoned in North Korea for crimes against the state, has been moved from a prison work camp to a hospital due to deteriorating health, Reuters reported on Sunday, citing his sister.

Kenneth Bae was sentenced in May to 15 years of compulsory prison labor after North Korea's Supreme Court convicted him of state subversion. The court said the 45-year-old Christian missionary had used his tourism business to form groups to overthrow the government.

Bae has been held since he was detained in November as he led a tour group in the country's northern region.

Bae's sister Terri Chung said her brother had been held until recently at a prison for foreigners and put to work plowing and planting fields. She said, however, her brother was suffering from a host of health problems, including an enlarged heart and chronic diabetes, and also back and leg pain.

Chung said she had learned of her brother's transfer from the Swedish ambassador to North Korea, who visited Bae on Friday. The ambassador who has met with Bae several times since his detention has been his only foreign visitor, Chung said.

Chung made her comments at a prayer vigil for Bae at a Seattle Church on Saturday evening attended by more than 100 friends, family and supporters. Chung also read from a letter sent by Bae to his supporters, in which he urged them to push his case with American officials.

US State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said in May the United States called on the North Korean authorities "to release Kenneth Bae immediately on humanitarian grounds."

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