Alek Sigley: Australia student arrested in North Korea 'released'

The 29-year-old student had safely left the reclusive country, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced.

    Australia's prime minister said Alek Sigley, an Australian student in Pyongyang, is 'safe and well' [Alek Sigley/Al Jazeera]
    Australia's prime minister said Alek Sigley, an Australian student in Pyongyang, is 'safe and well' [Alek Sigley/Al Jazeera]

    An Australian student arrested in North Korea has been released and is "safe and well" Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told parliament on Thursday.

    Alek Sigley's release comes just over a week after he went missing in Pyongyang, prompting a flurry of back-channel talks between North Korean authorities and a visiting Swedish envoy.

    "We were advised that the DPRK have released him from detention and he has safely left the country," Morrison said, referring to the North by the initials of its official name.

    "I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the Swedish authorities for their invaluable assistance."

    Australia has no diplomatic presence in North Korea and is represented there by the Swedish embassy. It advises its nationals to avoid all non-essential travel to the country.

    News site NK News reported unnamed sources saying that 29-year-old Sigley was "safe and sound" in China, and would be travelling on to Tokyo, Japan later on Thursday.

    Sigley, who comes from the west coast city of Perth, contributed occasionally to NK News and was one of only a handful of western students at Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung University.

    As well as studying Korean literature, Sigley had also set up a travel company offering guided tours to the authoritarian state.

    SOURCE: News agencies