North Korea Releases Video of Detained American Accused of Spying

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North Korea released video of Merrill Newman, the 85-year-old Korean War veteran detained last month, apologizing for his actions during the war. 

Newman was on a 10-day tour of North Korea when, suddenly, he was detained while trying to leave the country. Officers arrested Newman while the senior, who entered North Korea with a neighbor through China, was on his flight to Beijing

The video confession is a new touch for North Korea. Though, given North Korea's storied trouble with Photoshop, the editing is about you expect from the regime. What purpose the video serves, exactly, is almost impossible to guess. "If I go back to USA, I will tell the true features of the DPRK and the life the Korean people are leading," Newman says, reading from a prepared statement. It's fair to assume he didn't write the apology himself. At the end of the video, he signs and applies his finger print to every page.

Until now, North Korea offered no explanation for Newman's detention. But CNN now reports, per Korean media, that he's accused of "acts of infringing upon the dignity and sovereignty of the DPRK and slandering its socialist system." So, like Kenneth Bae, the other American detained in North Korea right now, Newman was accused of spying. 

What purpose this video serves is almost unknowable. The regime has never had a thorough legal system, or one in which an American can hope to succeed within. But the American animosity has kicked up a notch recently with Newman's detention, new threats of attacks against the U.S., and the long-awaited defiant restarting of a dormant nuclear power plant. North Korea wants attention.. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.