In its latest show of force, the dictatorial regime in charge of North Korea recently announced it will subject two American tourists to a trial, alleging they engaged in “hostile acts against the country.”
While details are still sketchy given America’s lack of diplomatic ties to the secluded nation, reports indicate that one man is being charged because he left a Bible in his hotel room. The Daily Mail indicates that Ohio resident Jeffrey Fowle entered North Korea about two months ago as a tourist and was subsequently the target of an investigation.
The act of leaving a Bible, authorities in that country contend, falls outside of the boundaries of a tourist visit.
Meanwhile, the 56-year-old’s family is waiting for answers in the U.S., asserting through a spokesperson that his wife and three children are “anxious for his return home.”
Another American, 24-year-old Matthew Miller, is also facing a trial for unspecified acts against North Korea. Reports indicate he ripped apart his visa upon entering the country nearly three months ago, declaring he sought asylum in the communist stronghold.
These two arrests bring a renewed focus on the plight of Kenneth Bae, an American sentenced in 2012 to a 15-year term in a labor camp for his missionary work in North Korea.
Though a family spokesperson declared Fowle was not in the country as a missionary, the charge he reportedly faces is similar to that used to convict Bae.
These are far from the only Americans detained by North Korean authorities. In fact, reports indicate that the country is intentionally stricter in its handling of U.S. citizens in an effort to use prisoners as leverage with the American government.
As it stands, Sweden handles all U.S. diplomatic concerns as the latter currently operates no consulate in the North Korean capital city of Pyongyang. This makes it even harder for authorities in America to determine what citizens face while in the custody of that country’s government.
Americans unquestionably face serious risks in traveling to North Korea, though; and the federal government issued a renewed warning to any potential travelers as a result of the latest detentions.
“Do not assume that joining a group tour or use of a tour guide will prevent your arrest or detention by North Korean authorities,” a statement explained.
Photo Credit: YouTube/euronews
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom