North Korea says American who entered illegally not a prisoner

Speaking in Pyongyang on Sunday, Arturo Martinez from El Paso, Texas strongly criticized US government policy. His mother said her son had recently escaped from a psychiatric hospital before entering North Korea. 

Kim Kwang Hyon/AP
Arturo Pierre Martinez, 29, speaks at a press conference at the People’s Palace of Culture in Pyongyang, North Korea Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014. North Korea on Sunday presented to the media the American who says he illegally crossed into the country but has not been held in custody and is seeking asylum in Venezuela. Martinez, of El Paso, Texas, said he entered North Korea by crossing the river border with China.

North Korea on Sunday presented to the media an American man who says he illegally crossed into the country but has not been put into custody and is seeking asylum in Venezuela.

Arturo Pierre Martinez, 29, of El Paso, Texas, said he entered North Korea by crossing the river border with China. Details of how and when he got into the country were not immediately clear.

In his comments to reporters, Martinez strongly criticized the U.S. for alleged human rights violations.

Martinez's mother, Patricia Eugenia Martinez of El Paso, told CNN that her son was bipolar and earlier had tried to enter North Korea by swimming across a river, but was stopped and shipped back to the United States, where he was placed in a California psychiatric hospital.

"Then he got out," she told the network. "He is very smart and he got the court to let him out, and instead of coming home to us he bought a ticket and left for China. He took out a payday loan online and left for China."

She said the U.S. Embassy in Beijing was looking for him.

Martinez made his comments at the People's Palace of Culture, which North Korean authorities have used in recent years for press conferences where they present North Korean defectors who have returned to North Korea, or on at least one occasion, a South Korean citizen who was detained in North Korea. It is also used for signing ceremonies between North Korea and other countries.

His comments came amid North Korea's own loud protests of a resolution in the United Nations that could open the door for its leaders to face charges of crimes against humanity for human rights violations, raising questions of whether Martinez was trotted out to the media for propaganda purposes.

North Korea recently released three Americans — two who had entered the country on tourist visas and Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American missionary who had been convicted of "anti-state" crimes.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to North Korea says American who entered illegally not a prisoner
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Latest-News-Wires/2014/1214/North-Korea-says-American-who-entered-illegally-not-a-prisoner
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe