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Americans Detained in North Korea Speak Out to CNN
September 1st, 2014
08:08 AM ET

Americans Detained in North Korea Speak Out to CNN

Three Americans detained in North Korea spoke out about their conditions Monday in an exclusive TV interview with CNN.

Kenneth Bae, Matthew Todd Miller and Jeffrey Edward Fowle met with CNN's Will Ripley at a hotel in Pyongyang. Each was given five minutes for an interview.

Bae, who is serving a 15-year prison sentence for "hostile acts to bring down its government," said he is working eight hours a day, six days a week at a labor camp.

North Korea claims Bae was part of a Christian plot to overthrow the regime.

"Continue to pray for me," he asked of his friends and family.

Despite what he called "hard labor," Bae said he has been treated "as humanely as possible."

Miller, who is accused of tearing up his tourist visa and seeking asylum upon entry, pleaded for help from the U.S. government during his interview.

"My situation is very urgent, that very soon I am going to trial, and I would directly be sent to prison," Miller said.

He said he will not learn of his charges until he goes to trial.

And Fowle, an American tourist accused of leaving a Bible in a hotel where he was staying, said he has "no complaints" about his treatment.

"It's been very good so far, and I hope and pray that it continues, while I'm here two more days or two more decades," he said.

All three men said they signed statements admitting their guilt.

MORE on CNN.com.

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January 21st, 2014
11:51 AM ET

'New Day' Exclusive: Kenneth Bae's Sister Pleads for Mercy

American Christian missionary Kenneth Bae has been imprisoned in North Korea for 15 months– his sister, Terri Chung– says that he's now the longest American detained there in recent history. She says her family is very scared about what's going to happen next after her brother's video-taped statement, CNN's Pamela Brown reports.

The American missionary, who has been held in North Korea for more than a year, read a statement before cameras in a Pyongyang hospital.

In the video he says "I would like to plea with the U.S. government, press and my family to stop worsening my situation by making vile rumors against North Korea and releasing materials related to me, which are not based on the facts." (translated)

Bae goes on to say that he committed a “serious crime” against North Korea’s government and that he did not experience any human rights abuse.

Experts say these new images of Bae could be a positive sign, given that North Korea’s history of coercing confessions before releasing their captives.

"The fact that they've paraded him out and gone through this farce suggests that they have some kind of demand in mind," says  Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, Director of East Asia Non-Proliferation Program and an East Asia Scholar at the Monterey Institute of International Studies

Kenneth Bae's sister asks that President Obama and Secretary Kerry take immediate action to bring her brother home. Experts say Bae's confession follows North Korea's pattern of exacting false "confessions." Most recently– 85-year-old Merrill Newman, a Korean War veteran, was freed from the country after he says he was forced to give a false confession.

For background and updates as the story develops, go here.

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November 27th, 2013
10:38 AM ET

Longest-Held American Hostage

Former FBI Agent Robert Levinson is one of three Americans thought to be held hostage in Iran.

He was taken in 2007– making him the longest-held American hostage in history.

The Levinson family is still fighting for any information regarding his condition and for his safe return home.

His wife Christine Levinson and his son Dan Levinson share their fight on “New Day”.

“He went on a business trip to Kish island, which is part of Iran, and it was supposed to be  a 24-hour trip, and he never left there. Unfortunately that was March 9th, 2007, and we have never heard anything about his whereabouts since then,” Christine Levinson says.

“We have not received any recent information about him, although I do believe he is safe and will come home to us soon.”

In April of 2011, the Levinson family received 5 photos of him in an orange jumpsuit and holding messages the family says have yet to be understood.

“It's concerning to us because we haven't heard anything since the last photos,” Dan Levinson says.

The family says the U.S. State Department is working hard to get Levinson home, but needs cooperation from the Iranians.

“We need the officials in Iran to help us and make sure that Bob is safe and get him home to us,” Christine Levinson says.

“U.S. officials have been saying in recent days that he's brought up in every opportunity to have on the sidelines of these negotiations, and they're going to continue to press his case and we have no doubt that the U.S. government is doing everything they can.”

She makes a plea for her husband.

“Since he disappeared, there have been numerous graduations, two daughters have gotten married, we have a new grandson who was born just a  month ago. Another grandson will be born in February. We have a granddaughter who is going to be 5 years old in December, and bob knows nothing about any of these children. It's extremely difficult for our family, because this is something that can be resolved," Christine Levinson says.

"The people who have bob need to send him home to his family. Six and a half years is far too long."

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October 16th, 2013
09:34 AM ET

Attorney: "This Was Cold Blooded Murder"

Police officer Randall Kerrick has been charged with voluntary manslaughter – a felony, for killing ex-FAMU football player Jonathan Ferrell in North Carolina, after the young black man was in a car accident and looking for help.

In an exclusive interview with "New Day," Cache Heidel, Ferrell's fiancee, tells CNN's Chris Cuomo she hopes the man's death can be a cause for change moving forward.

“That is a hope I have. That his death will resound with America in general for a country that prides itself on being diverse and inclusive and accepting everyone for who they are.”

Officers were responding to a "breaking and entering" 911 call at a home in Charlotte where the homeowner told dispatchers that a man had been knocking on her door repeatedly.

Police say that when they got to the scene, a man matching the caller's description ran toward them.

One of the officers fired his stun gun, but it was "unsuccessful." Then Kerrick opened fire several times, killing Ferrell, police said.

The Ferrell family attorney Chris Chesnut now says police should release the dash-cam video of the incident to the public for both training purposes and so viewers can see what happened for themselves.

“I think the tape is the reason Officer Kerrick was arrested,” Chesnut says. “I think once his superiors saw the blatant, not only negligence but that this was cold blooded murder—I think  it's unprecedented for an officer to be arrested this quickly. I think the tape confirms that and I think, frankly the facts his attorneys are alleging are wholly consistent with what's on that video. And that’s why we want the video released.”

The officer was released on $50,000 bond and is now awaiting trial.

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