[Ed. – State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters, “This is the third U.S. citizen that has been detained in North Korea,” adding, there’s no greater priority for us than the welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad.” You can tell how earnest the administration is about rescuing them by considering that one of them has been languishing in a Nork prison since 2012.]
North Korea has detained a 56-year old man from Ohio, accusing him of an unspecified crime after he traveled to the communist-led country as a tourist, the nation’s state news agency and the man’s family said Friday. The North is now holding three Americans.
The state Korean Central News Agency identified the latest detainee as Jeffrey Edward Fowle. It said he arrived in North Korea on April 29 and authorities were investigating him for committing acts inconsistent with the purpose of a tourist visit. It did not give details.
U.S. officials confirmed the detention but didn’t identify the person for privacy reasons, nor comment on reports that he was held after leaving a Bible in his hotel room.
A spokesman for the family said, Fowle, who is married with three children, was not on a mission for his church.
One of the other two U.S. detainees is Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae, who has been held since November 2012, and is serving 15 years of hard labor for what the North says were hostile acts against the state.