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Miamisburg Man Detained in North Korea Over Bible
SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korea announced Friday that it has detained a U.S. citizen who it says entered the secretive country as a tourist in April and broke the law.
Jeffrey Fowle of Miamisburg is reportedly the latest American detained.
Three Americans are believed to be held in the communist nation, CNN reports.
The North Koreans are investigating Fowle for acting "contrary to the purpose of tourism."
According to a North Korean news agency, Fowle arrived in the country as a tourist on April 29.
Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, says his office has been in contact with the State Department and they will continue to monitor Fowle's detainment.
"I am deeply troubled by the the detainment of American and Miamisburg resident, Jeffery Edward Fowle, by the authoritrian government of North Korea," Turner said in a released statement."
Citing unidentified diplomatic sources, the Japanese news agency Kyodo reported that Fowle was part of a tour group and that he was detained in mid-May after allegedly leaving a Bible in a hotel where he had been staying.
The U.S. State Department said it was "aware of reports that a third U.S. citizen was detained in North Korea." But it declined to provide any further information, saying it couldn't share details about specific cases without written consent from an individual.
"There is no greater priority for us than the welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad," CNN reports a State Department official as saying.
Two other Americans are being held in North Korea.
According to Fox News, a 24-year-old man was detained in April for alleged improper behavior while entering the country. The tourist agency he traveled with identified him as Matthew Miller. North Korea said he entered the country on April 10 with a tourist visa, but tore it up and shouted that he wanted to seek asylum. The brief report said he chose the North "as a shelter."
North Korea also has been holding a Korean-American missionary, Kenneth Bae, since November 2012. Bae was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for what the North says were hostile acts against the state.
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