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Kenneth Bae’s family responds to his TV interview, says he is ‘hurting’

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LYNNWOOD — North Korean captive Kenneth Bae’s family responded to Bae’s interview with CNN Monday, saying the Lynnwood man obviously was “hurting” and sick.

Bae’s sister, Terri Chung, wrote the family’s release shortly after the Labor Day interview chronicling all captives of North Korea was aired Monday.

In the statement, she said it was apparent Bae was hurting, and she was worried the psychological pain of isolation was getting to the “incredibly friendly and social man.”

Here is Bae’s family’s full response to the interview:

Alone: Kenneth Bae hurting after nearly two years in North Korean labor camp

Today I saw my brother, Kenneth Bae, trying to hold it together as he spoke with a reporter from CNN, telling people about his life in a DPRK (North Korean) labor camp. Kenneth does not have this Labor Day off, clearly, and I implore the State Department to do everything in its power to see my brother released. I also ask for prayers and advocacy from every American who is enjoying their freedom today.

Kenneth is about as isolated as any human could be—the sole prisoner in this North Korean labor camp, with passing conversation only with guards. As an incredibly friendly and social man, the psychological pain of isolation and worry for his family must weigh on him as much as the physical agony. He is normally cheerful—larger than life—but I could not see that man today.

We have always been concerned about his health, as it was clear that his severe back problems were once again hurting him as he tried to sit up for the interview. Working eight hours a day of hard labor—his sentence—is the last thing his body needs.

To the authorities of DPRK: Please have mercy. It is in your power to release my brother. You could do it today. Please do so. He has confessed to the crimes for which he has been charged, and he has served a longer detainment than any other American since the war.

To Secretary of State Kerry and the State Department: I know that you are working behind the scenes, and my family sincerely appreciates the efforts put forth on behalf of my brother. The time is now—respectfully—to step up every diplomatic effort to release Kenneth, a US citizen.

To President Obama: At the national prayer breakfast Feb. 6, you said “…the United States will continue to do everything in our power to secure his release, because Kenneth Bae deserves to be free.” President Obama, please do everything in your power.

Our hearts and prayers also go out to the families of Jeffrey Fowle and Mathew Miller, the other detained Americans. Indeed, this is a difficult road.


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