North Korea to release US citizen

American held on unspecified charges for six months to be released after intercession of US envoy, state media reports.

    US rights envoy Robert King (centre), currently in North Korea, raised Jun's case with authorities [Reuters]

    North Korea says it will release an American citizen detained since November 2010, state media reports.

    The official KCNA news agency reported on Friday that Eddie Jun Yong-Su, a US citizen who had been held for the last six months on unspecified charges, was being released on "humanitarian grounds".

    The government was releasing Jun "in consideration of repeated requests" by recent American visitors to Pyongyang, the agency said, specifically mentioning Robert King, a US rights envoy who had expressed regret over the case.

    King is due to leave North Korea on Saturday, but it was unclear if Jun was to leave with him.

    Jimmy Carter, the former US president, is also said to have asked the North to release Jun during a recent visit.

    North Korea has said that Jun was accused of committing a serious crime, but has given no further details. South Korean media report that Jun was accused of carrying out missionary activities.

    "Whether Eddie Jun is out of detention or not isn't clear," reported Andrew Thomas, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Seoul, South Korea.

    "Whether he'll return to first Beijing and then back to the States with Robert King on Saturday ... isn't clear. But it does seem like he has either been released by the North Korean regime, or is about to be so."

    Thomas said the intercession of high-profile figures had probably helped to secure Jun's release.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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