American Held in N. Korea Sent Back to Labor Camp

Kenneth Bae leaves hospital, and his family is worried

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 7, 2014 5:36 PM CST

(Newser) – US missionary Kenneth Bae has been sent back to the grind of a labor camp in North Korea. The State Department informed his family that the 45-year-old was discharged from the hospital—where he had gone after dropping 50 pounds—and ordered back to a prison work camp, reports AP. "He's back to eight-hours-a-day, six-days-a-week hard labor," says his sister in Washington state. "We can't help but be concerned about that."

Bae, who ran tour groups to the country, got sentenced in 2012 to 15 years of hard labor for crimes against the government. His case got two high-profile boosts yesterday: President Obama mentioned him at the National Prayer Breakfast, notes the Seattle Times, and the four remaining members of Congress who served in the Korean War sent a letter to Pyongyang asking for his release, reports Reuters. (The four are Charles Rangel, D-NY; John Conyers Jr., D-Mich.; Sam Johnson, R-Texas; and Howard Coble, R-NC.)

American missionary Kenneth Bae speaks to reporters on Jan. 20.   (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
American missionary Kenneth Bae speaks to reporters at Pyongyang Friendship Hospital on Jan. 20.   (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
This 2013 file photo shows Myunghee Bae, the mother of Kenneth Bae, at her computer in her home in Lynnwood, Wash.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
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