— Jeffrey Fowle, an American arrested in North Korea in May for leaving a Bible at his hotel, has been released and is on his way home, a senior State Department official told CNN on Tuesday.
North Korean officials monitored and recorded the interviews and CNN was unable to assess independently the conditions under which the men were being held.
Although North Korea contains a number of state-controlled churches, the totalitarian regime forbids independent religious activities, viewing them as potential threats to its authority.
“The charges are violations of DPRK law, which stems from me trying to leave a Bible,” the 56-year-old told CNN’s Will Ripley in the interview. He said he had a “desperate situation,” and voiced concern about his wife and three young children back home.
“It’s a covert act and a violation of tourists’ rules. I’ve admitted my guilt to the government and signed a statement to that effect and requested forgiveness from the people and the government of the DPRK,” Fowle said.