Family Reaction after Kenneth Bae Press Conference in North Korea

Candle_1bI had mixed emotions as I watched my brother today as he spoke from a hospital in North Korea (DPRK). I was encouraged that he appeared to be in decent health, but it was still painful to see him in his prison uniform, number 103. My brother is not a number to me, or to the rest of his family. He is a kind and loving husband, father, son and brother – and needs to be home immediately.

Kenneth was not his usual cheerful self during the press conference, as I am sure he is worn down physically and emotionally after 15 months of imprisonment. In his eyes, I could see that he was distressed. We remain gravely concerned about his health.

To the leaders of DPRK, we understand that Kenneth has been convicted of crimes under DPRK laws. Our family sincerely apologizes on Kenneth’s behalf. Kenneth has also acknowledged his crimes and has apologized. He has now served 15 months of his sentence, but faces chronic health problems. We humbly ask for your mercy to release my brother.

This is also the third time Kenneth has made a public plea to US leaders for help. Kenneth has been detained longer than any other American in recent history and the only one to do hard labor before his health failed. We do not know how long it will take for his release – or how long he will have to endure. We are worried that he will be sent back to the labor camp, as he mentioned was a possibility in today’s press conference.

We appreciate all work that our US leaders have done behind the scenes, but now we ask or increased support from our government to secure Kenneth’s release. We have faith in our government to protect the well-being of Americans both at home and abroad. We implore Secretary Kerry and President Obama to take immediate action to bring Kenneth home.

To all that may be reading this or listening, we need your voice. Please join us to advocate for Kenneth’s immediate release by calling your congressperson, the State Department and the White House, and by visiting:

Terri Chung
Sister of Kenneth Bae
January 20, 2014