MOSCOW, August 5 (RIA Novosti) — Two American tourists, imprisoned by North Korean authorities for “anti-state” crimes about three months ago made their first appearance on local AP Television News and asked the American government for urgent help.
“The horizon for me is pretty dark,” said American citizen Jeffrey Edward Fowle, cited by the Associated Press, “I don't know what the worst-case scenario would be, but I need help to extricate myself from this situation. I ask the government for help in that regards.”
Matthew Todd Miller and Jeffrey Edward Fowle spoke from an undisclosed position in North Korea. They said they had little hope for being released and fear that they will be sentenced to long prison terms. The exact date of the trial has not yet been announced, but the perspectives are grim.
“The window is closing on that process. It [trial] will be coming relatively soon, maybe within a month,” said Fowle, accused of leaving a Bible in a nightclub of city of Chongjin, “I'm anxious to get home, I'm sure all of us are.”
The other American tourist, Matthew Todd Miller, shares Fowle’s pessimistic views, stressing that he has been requesting help from the American government but has not yet received an answer.
Meanwhile the North Korean representative in the UN refused to discuss the case with American authorities, stating that the cases were “legal issues” and the detained US citizens had violated the law.
In addition to the two American prisoners captured by the DPRK, another US civilian, Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American missionary, has been serving a 15-year sentence in a North Korean labor camp since 2012. He was charged with committing “hostile acts” against the state. All the efforts undertaken by the US government to release the detainee have not yet been successful.
“We are very concerned about his health. We have urged the DPRK authorities to grant him special amnesty and immediate release on humanitarian grounds. And look, I would just take with a grain of salt things people say in videos when they are being held by a country like North Korea,” said Marie Harf, the US State Department spokeswoman regarding the issue, quoted by the AP. In this light the future of the other two prisoners seems uncertain and dismal. However, Matthew Todd Miller and Jeffrey Edward Fowle told AP that they were treated well and allowed to take daily walks.
The United States has been known for conducting a strikingly similar policy regarding foreign detainees. Foreign prisoners have been held in American detention facilities without charges, and alien detainees were sentenced to death by the American juridical system. About 30 foreign nationals have been executed in the United States since 1979 according to the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), a non-profit organization located in Washington, US.
“All indications are that none of these executed individuals were informed by US authorities upon arrest of their right to have their consulate notified of their detention, as required under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations,” the Center reports.
Discussing the issue of the three American citizens arrested in North Korea, it is worth pointing out the cases of the three Russian nationals illegally kidnapped by the US authorities and held in American prisons: Victor But, Victor Yaroshenko and Roman Seleznev.