North Korean officials announced Saturday that detained American citizen Kenneth Bae will be tried before the country’s Supreme Court on charges of plotting to overthrow the government. If convicted, Bae could face the death penalty.
According to media accounts, including one from The Telegraph, Bae is thought to be a Christian missionary linked with an Ohio organization called The Joseph Connection, although all references to his faith connections appear to have been removed recently from the Internet.
North Korea is known for its brutality toward Christian missionaries. Evangelism in the country is a serious crime.
The case against Bae, who has been in North Korean custody since early November, only fuels the already fraught relations between Pyongyang and Washington. Some analysts believe the country’s leaders will using Bae for political leverage. The U.S. has sent high-profile individuals to North Korea in the past to appeal for the release of its citizens. North Korea has detained six Americans since 2009.