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North Korea Claims Imprisoned American Wanted to Become Next Snowden

American Matthew Miller, who was sentenced to six years hard labor in North Korea, got arrested on purpose in a search for fame, North Korea claims.
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/ Source: Reuters

An American recently sentenced to six years of hard labor by a North Korean court pretended to have secret U.S. information and was deliberately arrested in a bid to become famous and meet U.S. missionary Kenneth Bae in a North Korean prison, state media said on Saturday. Matthew Miller, 25, of Bakersfield, California, had prepared his story in advance and written in a notebook that he was seeking refuge after failing in an attempt to collect information about the U.S. government, state media said.

"He perpetrated the above-said acts in the hope of becoming a 'world famous guy' and the 'second Snowden' through intentional hooliganism," KCNA said, referring to former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, wanted by the United States for leaking secrets of its surveillance programs.

Miller was arrested when he tore up the tourist visa he used to enter the isolated country in April, state media said at the time. He was sentenced to six years hard labor by a North Korean court last Sunday. State media said Miller had deliberately sought his arrest so he could investigate North Korean prison and human rights conditions, and meet with and negotiate the release of U.S. missionary Bae, who is serving a hard labor sentence after being convicted of crimes against the state last year.

He is one of three U.S. citizens now being held by North Korea. A third American, Jeffrey Fowle, was arrested for leaving a Bible in the toilet of a sailor's club in the port city of Chongjin and is currently awaiting trial.



— Reuters