UPDATE, May 31, 1:24 P.M.: Detained for several months in North Korea, Eddie Yong Su Jun was finally released at the request of the U.S. He was escorted out of the country on Saturday by U.S.
human rights envoy Robert King
Jun's family wrote in a statement to CNN
Words cannot fully express how overjoyed we are to be reunited with our husband and father. We are grateful that the DPRK government has granted our plea for his humanitarian release; further, we sincerely thank them for taking care of his health.
UPDATE, MAY 27, 9:43 A.M.:
North Korea's state news agency KCNA reported that the country has decided to release Eddie Yong Su Jun "on humanitarian grounds."
The concession may be aimed at securing U.S. food aid in return. It is not clear when Jun would be released, though some suspect he may be escorted out on Saturday by U.S. human rights envoy Robert King
, who is visiting the communist state. Jun had reportedly been working legally in North Korea when he was detained and charged with Christian missionary activity.
ORIGINAL POST, APRIL 27, 2:27 P.M.: Eddie Yong Su Jun, a man with OC ties, has been detained in North Korea since last November after being arrested on unspecified charges. Earlier this month, the country's official news agency reported the government's plans to indict the Korean American, saying he has already "admitted his crime."
The Orange County Register
confirmed that Jun attended Bethel Church in Irvine until about eight years ago, with the church's reverend describing him as "a good guy, a faithful servant."
To the Democratic People's Republic of Korea:
We write to plead for the humanitarian release of Eddie Yong Su Jun, our loving father and husband, who has been detained by the DPRK since November 2010.
We have recently received worrisome news that he has been hospitalized, and we are grateful to the DPRK for supplying him with medical attention. However, we remain extremely concerned about his very sensitive health condition.
Though we are aware that the DPRK has a judicial system different from that of the U.S., we strongly doubt that our father's health can withstand the stress of a trial or further detainment. Therefore, we beseech his release as an act of humanitarianism that your nation can bestow upon him and our family.
Eddie Jun is a devoted, loving husband and father, and we are very anxious to be reunited with him. We appeal to you for compassion so that our father and husband can safely return home to his family.
Former President Jimmy Carter
is in North Korea this week to learn more about the relationship between North and South Korea, and to push talks on curbing the regime's development of atomic weapons
. Though Carter won the release of another imprisoned American last year, it is uncertain whether he will seek the release of Jun.