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North Korea sentences American to six years of hard labor


Do you know the name Matthew Miller?

He’s been pleading for the American Government to assist in his release from North Korea since April. Unfortunately he was just sentenced to six years of hard labor.

SEOUL, South Korea– North Korea’s Supreme Court on Sunday, September 14, sentenced US citizen Matthew Miller to six years’ hard labour for “hostile” acts, two weeks after he and two other detained Americans had pleaded for help from Washington.

Miller is now the second American serving a hard labor prison term in the North amid accusations that Pyongyang is using them to extract political concessions from Washington.

The young man (24) was arrested in April after he allegedly ripped up his visa at immigration and demanded asylum.

“He committed acts hostile to the (North) while entering the territory of the (North) under the guise of a tourist last April,” the state-run KCNA news agency said in announcing Sunday’s court ruling.

Recently Miller and two other US detainees, Kenneth Bae and Jeffrey Fowle, made a plea for Washington’s help in a televised interview with CNN in Pyongyang.

“My situation is very urgent,” Miller told CNN.

“I think this interview is my final chance to push the American government into helping me,” he added.

Bae, a Korean-American described by Pyongyang as a militant Christian evangelist, was sentenced last year to 15 years’ hard labor on charges of seeking to topple the North’s regime.

Fowle entered the North in April and was detained after reportedly leaving a Bible at a hotel. He is still awaiting a trial with no date currently set.

Washington has vowed to “leave no stone unturned” in its efforts to free the trio and repeatedly urged Pyongyang to release them, however it seems that little progress is being made or even attempted to ensure these three Americans are returned.

Analysts say Miller’s trial is part of Pyongyang’s wider efforts to capture US attention and force Washington to the negotiating table.

Washington has no diplomatic relations with Pyongyang and, in the past, North Korea has released detained Americans after visits by former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

The US special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, Robert King, has twice tried to visit the North to secure Bae’s release, only for Pyongyang to cancel at the last minute.

What is important to note is that we are dealing with a different family member than in the past. Kim Jong-un seems to be even more of a radical than his father. Beyond this many nations seem to be quite emboldened in their dealings with the US due to our shift from an assertive world power to that of a pacifist compromising one. The simple fact is that North Korea is by far and large one of the world’s worst human rights violators and the entire Kim family should have been crushed and removed years ago. Yet somehow this incompetent regime is boldly giving America the middle finger while they essentially hold three of our citizens hostage in their corrupt legal system.

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Shane Blevins
Shane Blevins retired from the US Army at 20 years of service. During his career he served in Special Operations and the US Army SERE School. He is currently a senior program developer for OGC and operates an online entrepreneurial network. He is happily married to his wife Jennifer and has 5 children.