American Matthew Miller ripped up his visa upon arrival in North Korea so he could go to prison and expose human rights violations there, state media KCNA said Saturday. Miller shouted his desire to seek asylum, and was later convicted of committing “acts hostile” to North Korea and sentenced to six years of hard labor last week.
Saturday’s report in the state-run Korean Central News Agency boldly heaped blame on Miller, claiming his acts were a preconceived plan to gain notoriety. State media described him as “rudely behaved,” saying he was sent to infiltrate prison as part of a United States campaign against North Korea.
“He perpetrated the above-said acts in the hope of becoming a world famous guy and the second Snowden through intentional hooliganism,” state media said. (Edward Snowden got asylum from Russia, where he fled last year after leaking classified U.S. government documents.)
Once sentenced, Miller hoped to meet Kenneth Bae, another American detained in North Korea. Miller planned to secure Bae’s release so both can serve as “witnesses” to the human rights violations in the nation, state media said.
Earlier this month, Miller told CNN’s Will Ripley that he “prepared to violate the law of DPRK before coming here. And I deliberately committed my crime.” But Miller didn’t elaborate on what his “crime” was. He said he wouldn’t learn of his charges until he went to trial.
Miller’s family lives in Bakersfield, California. In a July interview, a neighbor told The Associated Press that Miller went to South Korea about four years ago to visit his brother and started teaching English. He then traveled to North Korea this year after arranging a private tour through the U.S.-based company Uri Tours, which takes tourists into North Korea.