February 05, 2010 12:35
North Korea is to release Korean-American activist Robert Park, who entered the country illegally at Christmas to draw attention to human rights abuses.
"The relevant organ... decided to leniently forgive and release him, taking his admission and sincere repentance of his wrongdoings into consideration," Yonhap News on Friday quoted North Korea's official KCNA news agency as saying.
Park, an evangelical missionary, on Christmas Eve crossed the frozen Duman (or Tumen) River in what he apparently believed was a divinely inspired mission to persuade the North Korean regime to mend its ways, carrying a letter addressed to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. He was reportedly severely beaten by security forces when they picked him up.
KCNA separately quoted Park as saying in an interview that he had a "wrong understanding" of North Korea because of "false propaganda" by the West. "I would not have committed such crime if I had known that [North Korea] respects the rights of all the people and guarantees their freedom and they enjoy a happy and stable life," he said according to the agency.
The North did not say when Park would be released.
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