Mother of American jailed in N. Korea says son's health 'not that bad'

Oct. 11, 2013 at 11:15 AM
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PYONGYANG, North Korea, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- The mother of the American held by North Korea said the medical condition of her son, who has become ill while in jail, has improved but still not 100 percent.

Myunghee Bae, who was allowed into North Korea to see her son, Kenneth Bae, told Kyodo News in Pyongyang she visited with her son Friday in a hospital and found his health to be "not that bad."

Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American Christian missionary, was sentenced in May to 15 years of hard labor.

Myunghee Bae said her son told her, "Although [my health] is not so good, it has gotten much better now."

Before leaving for North Korea, Myunghee Bae said in a statement she spends "every day thinking about him and praying for his homecoming. I miss him so much! And I worry endlessly about his health and want to see and check his condition with my own eyes."

In May, North Korea's Supreme Court sentenced Bae to 15 years of hard labor for "committing hostile acts" against the country. The Korean Central News Agency said Bae was arrested in November after entering Rason City as a tourist, and, during a preliminary hearing, "admitted that he committed crimes aimed to topple" the country.

Bae was hospitalized two months ago, having lost a significant amount of weight and experiencing deteriorating health because of diabetes, an enlarged heart and back pain, reported.

The family has asked the U.S. government to keep pursuing his release and asked the North Korean government for mercy, citing health reasons.

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