London: The United States has urged North Korea for an immediate release of a Korean-American man, who has been sentenced to 15 years of hard labour for alleged anti-government crimes. Kenneth Bae, also known as Pae Jun-ho, was detained last year after entering North Korea as a tourist, the reports said on Friday.
The BBC News quoted State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell as saying that the US has urged North Korea to grant amnesty and immediate release to Bae as he has gone through a legal process.
Ventrell further said that US had ``long standing concerns`` about the lack of transparency and due process in North Korea`s legal system and in Bae`s case.
The report said that Sweden, which represents the US in North Korea in the absence of diplomatic ties, had helped to provide counsel to Bae.
Bae was arrested in early November in Rason, a special economic zone in North Korea``s far northeastern region bordering China and Russia.
The exact nature of his alleged crimes has not been revealed, but North Korea accuses Bae, described as a tour operator, of seeking to overthrow North Korea`s leadership.
According to reports, during investigation, Bae had admitted that he committed crimes aimed to topple the Democratic People`s Republic of Korea (DPRK) with hostility toward it. Bae`s sentence came amid high tension between the US and North Korea, after Pyongyang`s third nuclear test, the report added.