Foreigners arrested and detained in North Korea can expect to spend hundreds of days in prison, according to The Telegraph.
The 13 US citizens detained since 1995 – including the Christians Jeffrey Fowle, Aijalon Gomes and Korean-American Kenneth Bae – spent an average of 213 days imprisoned. Otto Warmbier, the 21-year-old student sentenced in March to 15 years’ hard labour, has just completed his 100th day in prison.
Korean Christians re-settled in North America are known to be vulnerable to arrest when visiting the country on mission work. The Korean-Canadian pastor, Hyeun-soo Lim, was sentenced in December to life imprisonment with hard labour. Korean-American Robert Park was tortured during his detention of 43 days.
On 23 April, Ri Su Yong, North Korea’s foreign minister, defended jailing Otto Warmbier but suggested that, as with past detainees, he may not serve his full sentence. Former detainees say they confessed to crimes against the state under duress before their release.
North Korea is considered to be the worst place in the world to be a Christian by Open Doors World Watch List 2016, which says Christians hide their faith as much as possible to avoid being sent to the country’s horrific labour camps.