SEOUL Aug 2 Two U.S. tourists being held in
North Korea have called on the U.S. government to help secure
their release from the isolated country, in an interview with
the Associated Press Television Network.
North Korea has said Matthew Miller and Jeffrey Fowle, held
since early May, would be put on trial for crimes against the
"I am now requesting help from the American government, the
citizens of America and the world to release me from this
situation," Miller, 24, from Bakersfield, California, said in
the interview, recorded in Pyongyang on Friday.
The video also showed a hand-written letter from Fowle, 56,
of Miamisburg, Ohio, that said he was arrested for leaving a
bible at a site visited by his tour group in the northern city
"I feel a great urgency to get back to my family! Please
help me come back home!," the letter said.
Fowle said of the letter: "My aim is to get that message out
to as many people who can hear it, to help us come home."
Both men were talking to someone off camera. Neither made
eye contact with the camera.
It was not clear if the interview was given in the presence
of North Korean government officials.
A source familiar with Fowle's arrest confirmed to Reuters
that Fowle left the bible at the Chongjin Seamen's Club - a
faded compound originally designed for visiting mariners to the
industrial port town in North Korea's east.
North Korean authorities arrested Miller for ripping up his
tourist visa and attempting to claim political asylum, state
media said. He was travelling alone, said a statement published
on the website of Uri Tours, the travel agency that arranged
Miller's trip to North Korea.
North Korea has three U.S. citizens in custody, including
Kenneth Bae, a missionary of Korean descent who was arrested in
November 2012 and convicted and sentenced to 15 years hard
labour last year.
Bae said he feels abandoned by his government and has
appealed again for help in securing his release, a pro-North
Korea newspaper reported on Thursday.
(Reporting By James Pearson; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)