NORTH KOREA – The American citizen sentenced to 15 years in a North Korean labor camp has appealed to the Korean authorities for forgiveness and asked the United States for help in securing his release in an exclusive interview from prison obtained Wednesday by CNN.
Pae Jun Ho, known as Kenneth Bae by U.S. authorities, was found guilty in an April 30 trial of “hostile acts to bring down its government” and planning anti-North Korea religious activities, according to the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
“Although my health is not good, I am being patient and coping well,” Bae said. “And I hope that with the help of the North Korean government and the United States, I will be released soon.”
In the interview footage, his head was shaved and his face noticeably thinner than the previous photos of the Korean-American. Bae wore a blue prison garment streaked with sweat and dirt that bore the number 103.
“I know what I did is not easily forgivable, but I hope that things will work out so that I can be with my family again soon,” Bae continued.
The video was made by a pro-North Korean group based in Tokyo, Choson Sinbo, which interviewed Bae in prison recently. The interview is believed to be the first since Bae’s sentencing about two months ago.
Choson Sinbo was permitted to conduct the interview by North Korea. The edited footage, which runs less than eight minutes, was made available to CNN.
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