PYONGYANG/BEIJING – A U.S. citizen detained in North Korea is likely to be given a death sentence or sentenced to re-education through labor for an indefinite term once a court holds a trial on his case, a North Korean source familiar with the case said Saturday.
The North’s public security authorities are preparing to indict Pae Jun Ho, a Korean-American who is known as Kenneth Bae in his home state of Washington, for a criminal trial, the source said. It is not known what kind of charges he will face.
Analysts suspect the move may be Pyongyang’s attempt to bring Washington back to bilateral talks. It may also reflect an attempt by the North to dissuade U.S.-led forces from tightening sanctions against North Korea after its December rocket launch.
The source said public security authorities have determined that Pae defamed the North Korean regime led by Kim Jong Un, and that his action was linked to a plot to overthrow the regime.
The Korean Central News Agency said Dec. 21 that Pae had been taken into custody for committing an unspecified “crime” against North Korea after he entered the northeastern port city of Rason on Nov. 3 for sightseeing.