North Korea releases detained American

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Pyongyang, Oct 22: North Korea has released detained American Jeffrey Edward Fowle and handed him over to the US, state media reported on Wednesday.

The decision was made by top leader Kim Jong-un in consideration of the repeated requests of US President Barack Obama, Xinhua reported citing official news agency KCNA.

Fowle was handed over to the US side according to a relevant legal procedure, the report said.

US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told a daily news briefing Tuesday that Fowle, one of the three Americans held by North Korea, has been released and was heading home.

Fowle, 56, entered North Korea April 29 and was arrested for acts against his tourism goal for violating North Korean law.

North Korea is holding two other Americans, Matthew Miller and Kenneth Bae, who were sentenced to hard labour of six years and 15 years respectively.

Bae, a Korean-American missionary, was arrested for "committing hostile acts against North Korea" in November 2012 after entering Rason City as a tourist, and Miller conducted "acts hostile to North Korea under the disguise of a tourist", according to KCNA.

Miller had been detained since April 10 when he tore up his visa on arrival at Pyongyang's international airport in an alleged attempt to seek an asylum in the country.

"He (Fowle) has been evaluated by a doctor and appears to be in good health," Harf said, adding that "we remain focused on the continued detention of Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller and again call on North Korea to immediately release them."

The Pentagon sent a plane to fly Fowle out of North Korea as the Asian country asked the US government to fetch him within a given a time frame.

IANS

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