An American who is 85 years of age is being held inside North Korea. His wife and son have called for his release saying they want him returned to their home for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Merrill Newman who is from Palo Alto, California was detained in Pyongyang and taken off his flight and has been held since then. Lee, his wife, said she wanted to let North Korean authorities know that Newman has been now held for more than 30 days.
She asked for his return on CNN saying he needed to be returned to their home immediately. Asked what she was say to her husband, she said we miss you and want you home with the family.
There are no diplomatic relations between the U.S. and North Korea. The U.S. has worked through Sweden, which is its protecting power inside North Korea, to obtain any information about the U.S. citizen.
The Newman family said it has spoken a number of times with the State Department since their father was detained. The family said they were confident the State Department was doing all it could the secure the elder Newman’s release. However, at the current time, there has not been official feedback from the North Koreans.
Newman’s son Jeff said the first place information would come back to is the Swedish consulate, but they said no contact has been made. They want to also make sure he is being well treated and getting all his medications.
Newman, said family members, has a heart condition and had just enough medication for his trip. Packages of medication have been sent by the family but they are unaware if he received them.
Newman is a veteran of the Korean War and a retired consultant. He was last seen on his flight to Beijing from Pyongyang. Just minutes prior to departure, he was taken from the plane by authorities from North Korea.
His family said he was part of a private tour of 10-days in North Korea. For the phone calls he made and postcards he sent, the trip went well and no indication of any problem was present said his son.
Newman is now one of two citizens from the U.S. being held by North Korean authorities. The other is Kenneth Bae, who authorities arrested in November of 2012 and sentenced to 15 years in May to hard labor.
The government of North Korea said he had been found guilty of different hostile acts and attempted to topple their government.
No one in the North Korea government has said publically why Newman is being held. Amongst the possibilities is his service in the military.