North Korea has detained and is looking to indict two American tourists who entered the country in April for committing hostile acts against the country, according to the Associated Press.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency said in a short report that North Korea is preparing to make the two tourists stand trial. The report did not specify what crimes the Americans committed, or what kind of punishment they might face. A state investigation concluded that the tourists had committed unlawful acts against the country.
Fowle, a 56-year-old from Miamisburgh, Ohio, entered the country on April 29, and North Korea reportedly began investigating him in June. Sources told the AP that Fowle was detained for leaving a Bible in his hotel room, however his family has maintained that he was simply visiting the country and wasn’t there on church-related business. His wife and three children released a statement saying that they are “anxious for his return home.”
Miller, 24, entered the country on April 10 with a tourist visa, which he tore up at the airport before shouting that he wanted to seek asylum, according to a KCNA report. According to the AP, an unusual amount of Western tourists visited the country in April to run the Pyongyang Marathon and attend other events, however Miller was not registered to run in the race.
Washington updated its travel warning to North Korea after Miller was detained, warning that in the past 18 months, “North Korea detained several U.S. citizens who were part of organized tours. Do not assume that joining a group tour or use of a tour guide will prevent your arrest or detention by North Korean authorities.”
The country is also holding Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae. Bae has been in custody since November 2012 after being sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for what was considered hostile acts against the state. Progress has yet to be made in his case.
The Swedish Embassy is in charge of U.S. consular affairs in North Korea since the U.S. has no political or diplomatic ties to the country. The embassy has not released a statement on the tourists due to the privacy of the case.