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American who was jailed in N Korea gets job back - but with one condition

An Ohio man detained in North Korea for nearly half a year got his job back with a city agency, but on condition he not travel again to a country where he could be easily detained, his attorney said on Thursday (Oct 30).

One of three Americans recently detained in North Korea, Jeffrey Fowle, 56, returned to his home near Dayton on Oct 22.

He was arrested in May for leaving a Bible at a sailor’s club in the North Korean city of Chongjin, where he was travelling as a tourist. 

He found out that he was released from his position at the city of Moraine’s streets department last month because of his prolonged detention.

He will be able to return to his job on Monday (Nov 3) after reaching a deal with his company.

The agreement signed by Fowle stipulates that he not travel where “the predictable result of which could include extended incarceration,” the agreement stated.

 “(The decision to travel to North Korea) Seriously called into question (his) judgment, leadership skill, and priorities, and have raised serious concern about his ability to carry out his job.” - Part of the agreement Fowle made with company in order to return to his job. 

Isolated North Korea, a hereditary dictatorship centred on the ruling Kim family, is particularly sensitive to religious proselytising.

The North Korean government has often tried to use the release of foreign captives as a way to build domestic political support for its leaders.

It also has welcomed thousands of tourists a year who have visited without incident on trips managed by the state.

US officials have declined to give details on the negotiations that led to Fowle’s release, but said there was no quid pro quo with Pyongyang.

The United States is demanding the unconditional release of two other Americans in North Korean custody: Matthew Miller arrested in April and Kenneth Bae arrested in November 2012.

Both have been sentenced to hard labour.

Source: Reuters

North Korea