Please show our dad mercy, say children of American held in North Korea

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 August, 2014, 11:16pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 August, 2014, 11:16pm


The wife and three children of an American man charged with "anti-state" crimes in North Korea have apologised and pleaded for the country to show him mercy, saying they're "desperate for his release and return home".

The family of Jeffrey Fowle, 56, appeared at a news conference in the state of Ohio on Tuesday with a lawyer and family friend acting as their spokesman.

The lawyer, Tim Tepe, said the family was struggling to get by financially without Fowle, who told them in a recent phone call his job benefits would run out soon.

"They miss him and are desperate for his release and return home," Tepe said.

Fowle's wife, Tatyana, has written to US President Barack Obama, asking for his intervention, as have his three children, ages 13, 11 and nine. She has also written to three former US presidents - George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter - and asked them to intercede. Tepe said only Bush had responded to those letters.

Fowle was detained sometime after he arrived in North Korea on April 29 for what the country said were hostile acts that violated his tourist status.

He is suspected of leaving a Bible in a nightclub in the northern port city of Chongjin.

Tepe has said Fowle was not on a mission for his church, that he was on vacation as part of a tour and "loves the adventure of experiencing different cultures and seeing new places".

North Korea is preparing to bring Fowle and another American detainee, Matthew Todd Miller, 24, before a court, but the date has not been announced.

"The horizon for me is pretty dark," Fowle said on August 1. "I don't know what the worst-case scenario would be, but I need help to extricate myself from this situation. I ask the government for help in that regard."