Texan Illegally in N. Korea Bashes US' Rights Record

Says he's not being detained; mom says he's bipolar
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2014 9:07 AM CST
Texan in N. Korea Illegally Bashes US' Rights Record
Arturo Pierre Martinez, of El Paso, Texas, speaks during a press conference in Pyongyang, Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014.   (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)

North Korea has within its borders one Arturo Pierre Martinez, and both are currently making some noise, with the latter slamming the United States' human rights record at a press conference this morning. The 29-year-old is an American from El Paso, and he says he's in the country illegally, having crossed over via its border with China, reports the AP. Martinez says he's not being detained and that he's seeking asylum in Venezuela. Complicating matters is his apparent mental health status: His mother tells CNN that he is bipolar and that an earlier attempt to cross over into North Korea ended in Martinez being returned to the US and placed in a California psych ward. "Then he got out," she says. "He is very smart and he got the court to let him out and instead of coming home to us he bought a ticket and left for China. He took out a payday loan online and left for China."

In a lengthy and rambling statement, Martinez says he's "extremely grateful for having been pardoned ... and for the most generous reception I have received." He goes on to address a laundry list of injustices, ranging from the American electoral system to its prison system and its billionaire "sociopathic megalomaniacs on the path to absolute world domination." Then, as CNN puts it: "He also talked about unidentified flying objects, CIA involvement in the cocaine trade, 'ultrasonic' devices that cause people to hear voices and experience bodily discomfort and how the Western news media unfairly portrayed North Korea." It's the latest salvo since the UN last month said Pyongyang's leaders should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity. (More Arturo Pierre Martinez stories.)

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