US veteran held in North Korea says video confession was coerced with threat of long jail term - InfoNews

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US veteran held in North Korea says video confession was coerced with threat of long jail term

A man watches a TV news program showing detained U.S. citizen Merrill Newman deported from North Korea, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, Dec 7, 2013. North Korea on Saturday deported the elderly U.S. tourist, apparently ending the saga of his return to the North six decades after he advised South Korean guerrillas still loathed by Pyongyang. (AP Photo/Ahn Yung-joon)
December 09, 2013 - 1:38 PM

SAN FRANCISCO - The 85-year-old U.S. veteran detained for weeks by North Korea says a videotaped confession he made while he was being held was delivered involuntarily and under duress.

Merrill Newman said in a statement issued Monday that he tried to demonstrate that the statement aired on North Korean state media was not his own by emphasizing its awkward phrasing and poor English grammar.

Newman says that the North Koreans treated him well, but his interrogator told him repeatedly that if he did not apologize for alleged crimes during the Korean War and during his visit to the communist nation he would be sentenced to 15 years in jail for espionage.

Newman was detained in late October at the end of a 10-day trip to North Korea. The visit came six decades after he oversaw a group of South Korean wartime guerrillas during the 1950-53 war.

News from © The Associated Press, 2013
The Associated Press

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