Wife of detained Ohio man asks North Korea for mercy for him

The wife and three children of an American man, Jeffrey Edward Fowle, 56, charged with “anti-state” crimes in North Korea apologized Tuesday to the communist country and pleaded for its government to show him mercy, saying in a statement they’re “desperate for his release and return home.”

North Korea said Monday it is preparing to try two Americans who entered the country as tourists, for carrying out what it says were hostile acts against the country. Fowle is suspected of leaving a Bible in a nightclub in the northern port city of Chongjin.

Fowle’s wife, Tatyana, has personally written to President Barack Obama, asking for his intervention, as have his three children, Alex, 13, Chris, 11, and Stephanie, 9. She also has written to three former presidents — George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter — and asked them to intercede.

“The family would like to express its heartfelt apology to the people and the government of the (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea). Jeff has apologized publically for his actions and Jeffrey’s family petitions the government for mercy toward Jeffrey and asks for his release,” the family’s lawyer said.

Tepe has said Fowle was not on a mission for his church, that he was in North Korea on vacation as part of a tour and “loves the adventure of experiencing different cultures and seeing new places.”

North Korea has said authorities are preparing to bring Fowle and another American detainee, 24-year-old Matthew Todd Miller, of Bakersfield, California, before a court, but hasn’t yet specified what they did that was considered hostile or illegal, or what kind of punishment they might face. The date of the trial has not been announced.

[AP]

Another American detained in North Korea over a Bible

North Korea announced Friday that it has detained a U.S. citizen who it says entered the secretive country as a tourist and broke the law. The North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency gave the American’s name as Jeffrey Edward Fowle, saying he arrived as a tourist on April 29.

The news brings the number of Americans believed to be held in the communist nation to three.

Citing unidentified diplomatic sources, the Japanese news agency Kyodo reported that Fowle was part of a tour group and that he was detained in mid-May after allegedly leaving a Bible in a hotel where he had been staying.

North Korea said in late April it was holding a different American man, who it claimed came the country seeking asylum. He tore his tourist visa and shouted that “he would seek asylum” and “came to the DPRK (North Korea) after choosing it as a shelter,” KCNA said. KCNA identified that man as Miller Matthew Todd, who it says was taken into custody on April 10.

North Korea is also holding Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American missionary who was sentenced to 15 years hard labor in 2013 by a court that said he had carried out acts aimed at bringing down the regime of leader Kim Jong Un.

[CNN]