A new, chilling video surfaced from the world’s most isolated country and it features one of their newest American prisoners.
The prisoner is 85 year old, Merrill Newman who was accused by the North Korean government of committing war crimes some 60 years ago during the Korean War. Newman was accused of subversive activities, espionage, killing Korean People’s Army service members as well as innocent civilians.
And his punishment…
It’s not entirely clear. What we do know is that Newman appears to have been forced to hand-write a long apology letter in which he pleads with the North Korean government to pardon his crimes, as he reads it on camera. The Veteran appears nervous in the video, and his hands are visibly shaking as he stumbles through the ‘apology.’
“As I killed so many civilians and KPA soldiers and destroyed strategic objects in the DPRK during the Korean War, I committed indelible offensive acts against the DPRK government and Korean people.
After Newman ‘admits’ to his crimes and goes on to ‘plead’ for forgiveness. “I will never commit the offensive act against the DPRK Government and the Korean People again.”
“On this trip I can understand that in US and western countries there is misleading information and propaganda about DPRK. If I go back to USA, I will tell the true features of the DPRK and the life the Korean people are leading,” as he finishes the letter.
The nightmare began on October 26th when Newman was scheduled to fly back to the U.S. by way of Beijing where most tourists come in to Pyongyang from. As Newman boarded and took his seat he was approached by an official from the North Korean government who removed him from the plane.
This was the last time Newman was heard from until the video surfaced, according to an account from his son, Jeffrey Newman who has been able to communicate with his father through a series of postcards the older Newman wrote during his planned 9-day journey. Jeffrey Newman says that it was his father’s dream to visit North Korea which was an interest that may have been instilled in him while serving in the Korean War. The older Newman even took up language training to prepare for his trip.
While little information is known about Mr. Newman’s detention, he seems to be in reasonable health. The State Department has yet to confirm Newman’s detention but has said that the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang serves as a go-between for Americans who are captured and held within the country. The Swedish Ambassador reportedly delivered Mr. Newman’s heart medicine to the North Korean Government but it remains unclear whether he has received it and is taking it.
In the meantime, Newman’s son has been making a plea of his own to North Korea: “We don’t know what this misunderstanding is all about. All we want as a family is to have my father, my kids’ grandfather, returned to California so he can be with his family.”
So what would you do if your grandfather was in this situation or if you were imprisoned in North Korea? Would you risk making the trip there in the first place?
Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Written by Ben Walters.