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www.wmfd.com - The White House says it's doing what it can to secure the release of three Americans held in North Korea. }}" />

   
 
 
North Korea May Reach Out To U.S. On Three American Captives

Story By: Larry Stine

 

 

 
 
 
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  Original Published: 9/3/2014

The White House says it's doing what it can to secure the release of three Americans held in North Korea. CNN got exclusive interviews with all three. They said they felt this might be their last chance to reach out to the U.S. Government for help. CNN's Will Ripley has the story behind the exclusive access to Americans detained in North Korea. An abrupt detour during a trip to cover pro wrestlers on a "sports diplomacy" mission to North Korea. One minute we're on a sightseeing tour, the next, we're in a van, racing through the North Korean countryside. Government minders abruptly canceled our shoot. They're on the phone, getting instructions. There's been a change of plans. Suspense builds as we approach the capital Pyongyang. These are unfamiliar roads. Rarely seen by outsiders like us. We're told to expect an interview with a "government official." When we pull up to this building, we learn who's really inside. "Mr. Bae, Will Ripley with CNN." Kenneth Bae is serving 15 years of hard labor. Pyongyang is giving us strictly controlled access to Bae and two other detained Americans. North Korea calls it a favor, but we get the impression the government is looking for a line of communication with the U.S. "I'm the only prisoner in the camp," Bae says. Bae is housed separately from what Amnesty International estimates are 200,000 North Korean prisoners. The human rights group says they endure "horrific conditions" at six prison camps. Bae says his health is failing, but his treatment is humane. "Condition in labor camp, I'm working eight hours a day, six days a week," Bae says. As Bae serves his sentence, Jeffrey Fowle waits to learn his. He's living in a hotel room ahead of his trial. Possibly a labor camp, if he's found guilty. "I'm getting desperate," Fowle says. "I'm getting desperate." Fowle's already confessed to leaving a bible in North Korea. His own handwritten notes detail the so-called crime. "It's a covert act and a violation of the tourist purpose as well," Fowle says. That "covert act" of leaving a bible could cost Fowle years of freedom. Experts say religion threatens the North Korean regime. In a nation accused of widespread religious persecution, only the leaders are considered "divine." Each man is held in a different room down the same hallway. They never have contact with each other. In this room, Matthew Miller, awaiting trial for tearing up his tourist Visa and seeking asylum in North Korea. "Why did you come here seeking asylum?" asks Ripley. "During my investigation I discussed by motive and for the interview it is not necessary," Miller says. Now, all he wants is help from the U.S. Government. His trial and immediate sentencing is expected later this month. "This interview is my final chance," Miller says. A chance to return to his old life. Away from the absolute isolation of being held in North Korea. During our trip, government minders are always watching. Not unexpected here. What caught us by surprise, how North Korea appears to be reaching out to the United States, using these three men to send a message.

   
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