North Korea Will Put Detained American Matthew Miller on Trial

An American tourist detained in North Korea since April will be put on trial next Sunday, the country’s official state media reported, less than a week after he and two other U.S. citizens appealed for help. Matthew Miller, 24, was arrested April 10 after Pyongyang said he entered the country on a tourist visa, then tore up the document and said he wanted asylum. The state-run media report did not say on what charges Miller would be tried.

The U.S. government last week called upon the isolated, totalitarian regime to release Miller and the two other detained Americans, 56-year-old father of three Jeffrey Fowle and Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae. "There’s no greater priority to us than the welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad. So we will leave no stone unturned in that regard,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Tuesday. Sweden is negotiating with North Korea on behalf of the U.S., which has no diplomatic ties to the dictatorship.

Fowle is accused of leaving a Bible at a hotel where he was staying. Bae was sentenced to 15 years hard labor for what North Korea said were hostile acts against the state.

Image: Mathew Miller, an American detained in North Korea,
Mathew Miller, an American detained in North Korea, speaks to the Associated Press, Monday, Sept. 1, 2014 in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea has given foreign media access to three detained Americans who said they have been able to contact their families and watched by officials as they spoke, called for Washington to send a representative to negotiate for their freedom. Wong Maye-E / AP file


— By Phil Helsel