May 10 2013
American prisoner Kenneth Bae was head of a Christian mission that aimed to overthrow North Korea’s regime, Pyongyang has claimed.
In the first public comments on Bae’s alleged crimes, a Supreme Court spokesman told state news agency KCNA that the US national had plotted “Operation Jericho” for at least six years before he was arrested in North Korea in November 2012.
The operation, apparently named in reference to the biblical city whose walls were toppled by the sound of the Israelites’ trumpets, supposedly began in the US, South Korea and China long before Bae made his fateful trip to North Korea.
Working with evangelical organization Youth With A Mission (YWAM), Bae is accused of preaching against the North Korean government in American and South Korean churches, of setting up covert “plot-breeding bases” in China, of smuggling at least 250 of his supporters into North Korea under the guise of tourists, of producing anti-North Korea propaganda and bringing it into the country.
The “propaganda” included a copy of a secretly filmed National Geographic documentary called ‘Don’t tell my mother that I am in North Korea,’ according to NK News, translating from Korean-language reports. Bae also allegedly had with him a book titled ‘1.5 billion in China and North Korea, the world’s last closed nations,’ NK News said.
Bae was tried behind closed doors on April 30, the North Korean statement said, during which hearing he “admitted all his crimes.” The Supreme Court sentence him to 15 years’ hard labor rather than the maximum penalty – life imprisonment or even death – in recognition of his confession, the report said.