DO NOT PUBLISH Dec. 7 - North Korean authorities have released an 85 year old American man after holding him for more than one month on charges he committed hostile during the Korean War. Julie Noce reports.
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Merrill E. Newman walked through Beijing airport a free man Saturday after being released from his one month detention in North Korea.
The 85 year old American citizen appeared in good spirits.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) US VETERAN MERRILL NEWMAN SAYING:
"I'm very glad to be on my way home. And I appreciate the tolerance the DPRK government has given to me to be on my way."
REPORTER ASKING: How do you feel now?
"I feel good, I feel good."
REPORTER ASKING: What is the first thing you want to do?
"I want to go home to see my wife."
Newman, a Korean War veteran, had been detained by authorities since October on charges he committed 'hostile acts' against the country during the war.
Last week, North Korean state TV released video of Newman reading from what appeared to be a handwritten apology. (nats full I have been guilty)
Newman's son Jeff spoke to reporters outside the family's home in Pasadena, California.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) JEFF NEWMAN, SON OF MERRILL NEWMAN, SAYING:
"As you can imagine, this has been a very difficult ordeal for us as a family, and particularly, for him. We want to thank everyone who has made this possible. (covered w broll) After Merrill comes home and has a chance to get some well-deserved rest. We will have more to say about his unusual and difficult journey."
Newman should be arriving back in the U.S. Saturday morning.
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