Matthew Miller, 25, of Bakersfield, California, had prepared his
story in advance and written in a notebook that he was seeking
refuge after failing in an attempt to collect information about the
U.S. government, state media said.
"He perpetrated the above-said acts in the hope of becoming a 'world
famous guy' and the 'second Snowden' through intentional
hooliganism," KCNA said, referring to former U.S. intelligence
contractor Edward Snowden, wanted by the United States for leaking
secrets of its surveillance programs.
"This is an intolerable insult and mockery of the DPRK and he
therefore, deserved punishment," KCNA said, using the North's
official DPRK acronym.
Miller was arrested when he tore up the tourist visa he used to
enter the isolated country in April, state media said at the time.
He was sentenced to six years hard labor by a North Korean court
"The results of the investigation made it clear that he did so not
because of a simple lack of understanding and psychopathology, but
deliberately perpetrated such criminal acts for the purpose of
directly going to prison," state media said.
Miller's case was exacerbated by the fact his actions followed
"reckless remarks" by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that
described reclusive North Korea as a "country of evil," state media
Kerry in February criticized North Korea as an "evil place"
following the publication of an extensive human rights report by
United Nations investigators who said North Korean security
officials should be tried for crimes related to the systematic
starvation, torture and imprisonment of North Koreans.
DELIBERATELY SOUGHT ARREST
State media said Miller had deliberately sought his arrest so he
could investigate North Korean prison and human rights conditions,
and meet with and negotiate the release of U.S. missionary Bae, who
is serving a hard labor sentence after being convicted of crimes
against the state last year.
[to top of second column]
Unlike the two other Americans held in Pyongyang, relatively little
is known about Miller and his family has not spoken publicly about
Reuters reported this week that he spent months in South Korea
pretending to be an Englishman named "Preston Somerset" and invested
time and money hiring artists to help create his own anime adaption
of Alice in Wonderland, the Lewis Carroll fantasy with which he
seemed fascinated, according to acquaintances.
He did not seem to have close friends, a regular job or means of
support during the months he spent in Seoul over a period of at
least two years, they said. He gave no inkling of any interest in
nuclear-capable and unpredictable North Korea.
He is one of three U.S. citizens now being held by North Korea. A
third American, Jeffrey Fowle, was arrested for leaving a Bible in
the toilet of a sailor's club in the port city of Chongjin and is
currently awaiting trial.
The United States has said Pyongyang is using its citizens as
"pawns" to win a high-level visit from Washington, which has
repeatedly offered to send special envoy for North Korean Human
Rights Robert King to negotiate the release of Miller, Bae and
North Korea has so far rejected those offers.
(Reporting by James Pearson; Editing by Tony Munroe and Lisa
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