Editorial: Prioritize releasing Kenneth Bae from North Korea prison
Kenneth Bae must not be forgotten. The former Washington resident has now been trapped in North Korea for nearly 19 months.
Seattle Times Editorial
U.S. citizen Kenneth Bae remains imprisoned in one of North Korea’s infamous labor camps.
For nearly 19 months, the former Washington resident’s family in the Edmonds area has held vigil and struggled to keep attention on the plight of their son and brother.
“We’re just getting by,” says Bae’s sister, Terri Chung. “We’re thankful for the efforts the U.S. has been making and we ask that they continue to make this case a priority.”
The Obama administration should listen to this family’s plea. Do not let up on requests for Bae’s release on humanitarian grounds.
The 45-year-old spent weeks in a North Korean hospital being treated for serious health problems. His family says he was returned to a labor camp on Jan. 20. They’ve not heard from him in months and are justifiably terrified.
Bae was guiding tourists when authorities detained him on Nov. 3, 2012 and convicted him of trying to “overthrow” the government.
Following last weekend’s release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from Taliban forces in Afghanistan, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that whether it’s “Kenneth Bae or others who are detained American citizens, we take every step possible to make the case and to take steps to ensure their return home to the United States.”
Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Sharon Pian Chan, Lance Dickie, Jonathan Martin, Erik Smith, Thanh Tan, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).
Information in this article, originally published June 4, 2014, was corrected June 4, 2014. A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled Bowe Bergdahl’s name.