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article imageUS Korean War vet detained in North Korea offers 'apology'

By Phyllis Smith Asinyanbi     Nov 30, 2013 in World
Pyongyang - Merrill E. Newman, an 85-year-old U.S. citizen, has been detained in North Korea for more than a month, has delivered an “apology,” for allegedly killing troops and civilians during the Korean War.
The apology, which was dated Nov. 9, could not be confirmed, but North Korean officials released a video of Newman reading it.
Pyŏngyang is known for coercing confessions from detainees, per a Daily News report.
The North's official KCNA news agency stated, Newman "masterminded espionage and subversive activities against the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] and in this course he was involved in killings of service personnel of the Korean People's Army and innocent civilians," per a Chicago Tribune report.
Reportedly, Newman's statement read: "After I killed so many civilians and (North Korean) soldiers and destroyed strategic objects in the DPRK during the Korean War, I committed indelible offensive acts against the DPRK government and Korean people." (Click here to read the entire letter.)
The statement ends: "If I go back to (the) USA, I will tell the true features of the DPRK and the life the Korean people are leading."
Newman had visited North Korea as a tourist and has been held in Pyŏngyang since authorities took him off an Air Koryo plane that was scheduled to leave the country Oct. 26.
Until Saturday, Pyŏngyang had offered no explanation as to why it was holding Newman. The U.S. State Department has provided no details on the detention.
Newman is a retired finance consultant from Palo Alto, Calif. and was headed from Pyŏngyang to Beijing when authorities detained him. According to CNN, he was traveling with former Stanford University professor Bob Hamrdla who was allowed to depart.
At the time of his detention, his family reported he had been on a 10-day tour of the country, and per his postcards and phone calls, there were no problems.
Newman's son, Jeffrey Newman, said his father wanted to visit the country where he had spent time during his tour of duty in the Korean War.
The detainee's wife, Lee Newman, said Newman has a heart condition and only carried enough medication for the trip. She added that she had sent him medicine but wasn't sure it reached him.
It was reported that the medicine was picked up by a Swiss ambassador and flown to Pyŏngyang, but it has not been confirmed whether it reached Newman.
Swedish officials are negotiating on Newman's behalf as the U.S. has no diplomatic relationship with North Korea.
Another American, Kenneth Bae, who is of Korean ancestry, was detained and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. According to the North Korean government, he was found guilty of "hostile acts" against the government.
Since Newman was detained, the U.S. State Department has issued a warning: "U.S. citizens crossing into North Korea, even accidentally, have been subject to arbitrary arrest and long-term detention," the New York Times reported.
Pyongyang: North Korea said on November 30  2013   it had arrested U.S. citizen Merrill E. Newman  f...
Pyongyang: North Korea said on November 30, 2013, it had arrested U.S. citizen Merrill E. Newman, for "hostile acts" against the state and accused him of being "a criminal" who was involved in the killing of civilians during the 1950-53 Korean War
Photo released by North Korean Central News Agency
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