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A look at Americans detained in North Korea in recent years

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Otto Warmbier, an American college student who died days after being released from North Korea in a coma, was one of several U.S. citizens who have been imprisoned in the country in recent years over a variety of alleged crimes, including subversion, anti-state activities and spying. He’s also a rare Western detainee who came out of the country in rough shape — the vast majority of Americans detained by the North have been released in relatively good condition.

The United States, South Korea and others often accuse North Korea of using foreign detainees to wrest diplomatic concessions. Three Americans remain in custody in the North.

A look at some of the Americans who have been detained by North Korea in recent years:


Bae, a Korean-American missionary from Lynnwood, Washington, was imprisoned for more than two years after North Korea charged him for anti-state activities.

Bae, now 48, was detained in November 2012 while leading a tour group in a special North Korean economic zone. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison for “hostile acts” after being accused of smuggling in inflammatory literature and trying to establish a base for anti-government activities at a border city hotel.

While in detention, he told a pro-North Korea newspaper based in Japan that he felt abandoned. His family said he suffered from chronic health issues, including back pain, diabetes, an enlarged heart and liver problems.

Bae went home in November 2014 after a secret mission by the U.S. intelligence chief at the time, James Clapper, secured his release, as well as that of Mathew Miller, another American detainee. A month earlier, North Korea released another U.S. citizen, Jeffrey Fowle, after detaining him for six months for leaving a Bible in a nightclub in the city of Chongjin.

After returning to the United States, Bae thanked then-President Barack Obama and the North Korean government for releasing him. “It’s been an amazing two years. I learned a…

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