August 04, 2014 08:10
Two U.S. citizens detained for three months in North Korea say they fear they are about to be put on trial and sentenced to long prison terms.
Matthew Todd Miller and Jeffrey Edward Fowle were allowed to talk to an Associated Press television crew in Pyongyang. Both said they are in good health and are being treated well, but appealed to the United States to help get them out.
Fowle said he wants to apologize to the State Department and the people of North Korea for causing them what he calls big headaches. It is not known under what conditions Miller and Fowle were speaking.
Both men went to the North in April as tourists.
North Korean authorities have not said publicly what charges the two men are facing, but Fowle wrote in a letter about his experience that he left a bible in a nightclub.
Charges against Miller are unclear. But state-run media say he tore up his tourist visa and declared he is seeking asylum.
Another American who has been detained in North Korea for nearly two years, Kenneth Bae, said in an interview this week that he feels the U.S. has abandoned him.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Thursday officials are in regular contact with Bae's family and have appealed to the North to free him on humanitarian grounds because of his health.
Harf told reporters anything said in the North has to be taken with "a grain of salt."
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