North Korea claims detained veteran, 85, is a criminal

By Daniel S Levine,

Merrill Newman, the 85-year-old Korean War veteran who has been detained in North Korea since last month, has been seen in a video released by North Korean state media in which he apologizes for his actions during the war.

Newman’s family first came forward to tell the media that they have not heard from him since Oct. 26 last week. At first, Pyongyang did not acknowledge that they were detaining another American, but the government later confirmed that they were holding an American citizen, but didn’t release his name.

Now, Newman, of Palo Alto, Calif., appears in a video released by KCNA, reports CNN. KCNA claims that the statement was from Newman and is allegedly an ‘apology,’ according to the station.

“After I killed so many civilians and (North Korean) soldiers and destroyed strategic objects in the DPRK during the Korean War, I committed indelible offensive acts against the DPRK government and Korean people,” Newman said in the statement.

DPRK refers to the official name of the North Korean government, Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The Korean War technically never ended, as South Korea and the U.S. did not sign a peace treaty to end the war.

According to Reuters, KCNA claimed that Newman “masterminded espionage and subversive activities against the DPRK and in this course he was involved in killings of service personnel of the Korean People's Army and innocent civilians.”

The statement that Newman read also claimed, “During the Korean War, I have been guilty of a long list of indelible crimes against DPRK government and Korean people as advisor of the Kuwol Unit of the U.N. Korea 6th Partisan Regiment part of the Intelligence Bureau of the Far East Command.”

Newman had gone to North Korea on a trip booked by an approved agency. His family said he was inspired to see what the country looked like so many years after fighting there during the war.

The U.S. State Department has yet to respond to the statement released by KCNA.



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