US detainees return home after captivity in North Korea

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Former US detainees Kenneth Bae and Matthew Todd Miller have returned to the US after being released following a long period of detention in North Korea.

“It’s been an amazing two years. I learned a lot, I grew a lot, I lost a lot of weight,” Bae said at a press conference held shortly after his arrival.

“I just wanted to say tonight thank you for all your support and prayer and your love, that is really, really encouraging for me and for others that are in the same shoes in DPRK as well,” he said, using the acronym for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Bae thanked US President Barack Obama and the North Korean government for releasing him.

Bae was arrested in 2012 and was serving a 15-year prison sentence for charges including “hostile acts to bring down its government”, while Miller was jailed for espionage charges after allegedly tearing up his passport at the airport and demanding asylum upon his arrival to the country.

Matthew Miller walking with family members upon his arrival to the US (photo: Reuters)

The two were the last remaining US citizens detained in North Korea following the release of Jeffrey Fowle last month, who had been detentained for nearly six months.

Fowle, a tourist visiting North Korea, was imprisoned approximately six months ago after he had allegedly left a Bible in a nightclub in the northern port city of Chongjin. Religious proselytising is forbidden by North Korea’s communist government.