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N. Korea Sentences American to 10 Years in Prison

  • VOA News

A man who identified himself as Kim Dong Chul, who previously said he was a naturalised American citizen and was arrested in North Korea in October, attends a news conference in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, March 25, 2016.

A man who identified himself as Kim Dong Chul, who previously said he was a naturalised American citizen and was arrested in North Korea in October, attends a news conference in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, March 25, 2016.

Pyongyang has sentenced a Korean-American man to 10 years of hard labor for subversion.

A North Korean court handed down the sentence Friday to naturalized U.S. citizen Kim Dong Chul.

Kim confessed last month to attempting to steal North Korean military secrets and asked for mercy when he was paraded in front of the media in Pyongyang in March.

U.S. student Otto Warmbier cries at court in an undisclosed location in North Korea, in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on March 16, 2016.

U.S. student Otto Warmbier cries at court in an undisclosed location in North Korea, in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on March 16, 2016.

Coerced confession?

He confessed a week after North Korea sentenced Otto Warmbier, an American student, to 15 years of hard labor for stealing a propaganda banner.

Both Kim and Warmbier confessed to their charges, but observers say both confessions were likely coerced.

Kim and Warmbier's sentences come amid mounting tensions following North Korea's launching of nuclear weapons tests and long-range rockets tests. Washington, Seoul and Tokyo have increased their defense readiness postures in response to the tests. U.S. and South Korean forces have conducted joint annual military exercises.

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