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Kenneth Bae Worried About Health in North Korean Camp

Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American who has been held in North Korea since November 2012, says he is worried about his health after authorities moved him back to a labor camp following a stay in a hospital.


Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American who has been held in North Korea since November 2012, says he is worried about his health after authorities moved him back to a labor camp following a stay in a hospital, CNN reports.

In a recorded video with Swedish diplomat, Cecilia Anderberg, Bae’s outlook seemed grim. “I know if I continue for the next several months here, I will probably be sent back to the hospital again.” Bae tells Anderberg that he thinks he’s lost as much as 10 pounds since being transferred back to the camp.

Bae also talks about life in the labor camp. "I've been working with my hands a lot," Bae mentioned. "My hands all got numb and sore I have some cuts." But, he says that he remains "strong mentally and spiritually, and I am trying to stay strong emotionally as well."

Bae tells the diplomat that he has access to books and television at the camp and that the staff there treat him "very fairly."

Though Bae expressed optimism that North Korea would allow a U.S. envoy to visit for talks regarding his case, that hope seemed to be dashed over the weekend. A State Department official said Sunday that North Korea had rescinded its invitation to the envoy, without giving any reason.

Still, in the video, Bae asks Anderberg to tell his family that “I have not lost hope and have not given up anything.”

In May 2013, Bae was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for crimes against the state. Bae is at least the sixth American detained in North Korea since 2009, three of whom were also devout Christians. The others were eventually deported or released. 

Publication Date: February 10, 2014.

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