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Family ‘Devastated’ by North Korean Prisoner Kenneth Bae’s Pain

The sister of an American tour guide who has been detained in North Korea for nearly two years renewed her urgent call for his release Thursday, saying that reports he feels abandoned are devastating.

Choson Sinbo, a pro-North Korea newspaper based in Japan, published an interview July 30 with Kenneth Bae in which he is quoted as saying that nothing seems to be happening in his case and he feels abandoned. He was also quoted as saying that he fears being sent back to a labor camp because of his bad health.

After months of silence, it is devastating to hear Kenneth talk about 'feeling abandoned by the United States government,' " Bae’s sister, Terri Chung, said in a statement Thursday. She added that while the family appreciates efforts by U.S. officials to free him, “the fact remains that after almost 2 years, Kenneth still remains imprisoned in North Korea.”

Bae, who turns 46 on Friday, has been sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for unspecified hostile acts. He was arrested in November 2012 while leading a tour group in a special North Korean economic zone. He is the longest-held of three Americans being detained in North Korea.

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— The Associated Press