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Bail hearing set for ex-U.S. Marine accused of storming North Korean mission in Madrid

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Bail hearing set for ex-U.S. Marine accused of storming North Korean mission in Madrid
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(Reuters) – A bail review hearing is set to resume on Tuesday in Los Angeles federal court for a former U.S. Marine accused of being part of a group that stormed the North Korean embassy in Madrid and stole computers and computer drives.

A federal judge ruled on July 2 that Christopher Ahn, a U.S. citizen and former Marine, could be released but sent to Spain to face local charges. Prosecutors have claimed he is a flight risk.

Spanish authorities have charged Ahn, 38, with being among seven individuals from several countries who stormed the North Korean mission on Feb. 22 in Madrid, restrained and beat some embassy personnel, held them hostage for hours, then fled.

The intruders removed computers, computer drives and a mobile phone from the embassy, according to U.S. court documents.

Spanish investigators identified the embassy intruders as members of a group called Cheollima Civil Defense, or Free Joseon, that seeks the overthrow of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

U.S. agents arrested Ahn on April 18 in Los Angeles, and his attorneys have sought his release from custody since then.

A judge ruled that Ahn could be released in lieu of $1 million bond with the understanding that three people close to him could face criminal prosecution if he fails to appear in court.

Prosecutors said he might flee because he faces death threats. The hearing continues on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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