85-year old American vet detained in North Korea returns home

American veteran Merrill Newman, 85, returned to the U.S. this weekend after his release by North Korean authorities, who had detained him for over a month.
Posted By JC Finley   |   Dec. 9, 2013 at 4:14 AM   |   0 comments

Dec. 9 (UPI)-- 85-year old Korean War veteran Merrill Newman, who was detained for over a month by North Korean authorities at the end of a tourist visit to the country, has been released.

Newman is now back at home in Santa Cruz, California. He declined a full interview with local paper, the Santa Cruz Sentinel, but answered some questions about his detention overseas. He said he was comfortable albeit bored during his forced stay in a hotel room, where he was fed traditional Korean food. When asked about a video released by North Korea state media in which Newman read a seemingly coerced apology for his actions while a U.S. soldier during the Korean War and as a recent tourist, Newman told the Sentinal "Obviously, that's not my English."

The White House had expressed it was "deeply concerned" about Newman's detention, and had issued a plea for his release "Given Mr. Newman's advanced age and health conditions, we urge (North Korea) to release Mr. Newman so he may return home and reunite with his family."

Newman was detained on October 26 for "hostile acts" as he concluded the last day of a 10-day tourist visit to the country where he served for three years in the 1950s. North Korean authorities cited his advanced age and heart condition as factors in deciding to release him Friday. He returned to the U.S. this weekend.

[Santa Cruz Sentinel]

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