American tourist Jeffrey Fowle has been released by North Korea according to White House officials.
Fowle was arrested last June as he was leaving the country and charged with ‘anti-state’ crimes .
In September he had made a appeal for his and two other detainees’ freedom:
“Do as much as possible to get us back home, to pick up the pieces of our lives.”
Fowle had reportedly left a Bible in a restaurant. He was accused of missionary activity which is a crime in North Korea.
The White House says its trying to secure the freedom of two other US citizens with the help of Sweden which has an embassy in Pyongyang.
“While this was a positive decision by the DPRK, we remain focussed on the continued detention of Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller, and again call on the DPRK to immediately release them. The United States government will continue to work actively on their cases,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest.
The US accuses North Korea of using the detained Americans as pawns in a diplomatic game, something which North Korea denies.
Matthew Miller was arrested in April and sentenced to six years for so-called ‘hostile acts’.
Kenneth Bae, a missionary, was arrested in 2012 and sentenced to 15 years hard labour.
No reason has been given for the release of Jeffrey Fowle at this time.