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Australian Held in North Korea: They Interrogated Me Daily

Australian missionary John Short holds his written apology, in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on on March 3, 2014.KCNA / Reuters

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An Australian missionary, detained for two weeks in North Korea for spreading Christianity, said he was interrogated four hours a day and kept under constant guard.

John Short, 75, was released on Monday after North Korea said he had apologized for illegal religious acts and had requested forgiveness.

In a statement to The Associated Press on Wednesday, Short recounted that scripture helped him endure the “long and grueling investigation.”

“There were two-hour sessions each morning, which were repeated again in the afternoons,” he said in the statement.

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Australian missionary John Short holds his written apology, in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on on March 3, 2014.KCNA / Reuters

Short said he was held prisoner under guard in a room in the capital, Pyongyang.

“This I found to be most painful physically as an active senior person,” he said.

Short, a resident of Hong Kong since 1964, said he was taken into custody on Feb. 18 as he was about to leave his hotel for the airport.

“I strongly protested that I was not a spy, nor working with any South Korean organizations nor was I hostile to the DPRK,” Short writes in his statement, using the acronym for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

He said he admitted what officials called a crime — distributing Biblical texts with the intent to convert North Koreans to Christianity.

—The Associated Press

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