Local man detained in North Korea asks for help from US - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Local man detained in North Korea asks for help

Jeffrey Fowle, provided photo. Jeffrey Fowle, provided photo.
(FOX19) -

The local man who has been detained in North Korea since May was heard from for the first time Friday.

Jeffrey Fowle, 56, of Miamisburg was permitted by North Korean authorities to meet an Associated Press television crew at a government guest house. He was accompanied by Matthew Todd Miller, another American detainee from California.

The AP reports their crew was permitted to ask the detainees questions, but it is not clear if the two Americans were speaking on their own initiative or if their comments were coerced.  

"I apologize to the government and the people of the United States. For causing a headache. I know it's a big headache for the state department when something like this happens. So I apologize to the people of the United States as well as the people in government at the DPRK. It's headache for them too," Fowle said in the recorded interview.

The father of three said his health was good and that he was being treated well. Fowle said he had left a bible in the North Korean city of Chongjin, which upset the country's authorities for acting "contrary to the purpose of tourism."

North Korea says both Americans committed hostile acts and will be put on trial, but officials have not made clear what those hostile acts involved.

"My aim is to get my message out to as many people that can hear it, to help us come home. Americans are held here so that, if somebody is unable to come to Pyongyang then they can get a copy of that and understand a little bit of what is going on here. I need people's help. I need everybody's help I can get," Fowle said to the AP crew.

The U.S. has repeatedly offered to send its envoy for North Korean human rights issues to the country to seek detainees but has not been successful, according to AP reports.

Fowle's church, Urbancrest Baptist in Lebanon, Ohio, declined to comment on his detainment. 

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