Kenneth Bae a.k.a. Bae Jun-ho was jailed for two years in a forced labor colony in North Korea, between 2012 and 2014.
The reason behind his arrest? A prayer.
Kenneth Bae spoke about his brutal experience in the North Korean detention center during an interview with the Unification Media Group (UMG), a consortium of radio stations notorious for revealing uncensored news from North Korea.
Born in Seoul, the current US citizen, who established in the United States when he was just 17 years old, Bae was arrested in 2012.
At that time, the American was the manager of a travel company that brought Western visitors to the Kingdom of Eremit.
“The North Korean authorities have detained me on the charge of subversion. I was interrogated and sentenced to 15 years in a labor camp. They had a problem with me because I had brought tourists and participated with them in a prayer”, revealed Kenneth Bae.
Apparently, not the fact that they were praying awoke the suspicion of the North Koreans, but the supposed content of prayer.
Eventually, Bae was accused of promoting among those tourists a prayer of “undermining the government.”
Asked whether there is any substrate of speech regarding the content of the prayer that can be in the same register of dictatorial paranoia, thus categorized, Bae replied:
“I did not give instructions to the tourists about the content of the prayers, so I have no way of knowing what kind of prayers they were saying. But from what I heard, some prayed that people in North Korea would become more libertine and escape from poverty”.