By Nicola Kenzie
Kenneth Bae, a U.S. citizen sentenced to 15 years of hard labor by North Korean officials for alleged plans to overthrow the government, has been moved to a medical facility due to his failing health, his sister told supporters during a vigil at a Seattle church over the weekend.
Terri Chung, speaking through tears during a vigil at Quest Church in Seattle, told about 100 people who came to pray for her brother’s freedom and well-being on Saturday that she had been informed by Swedish officials, who represent the United States’ interest in relations with North Korea, that Bae had been transferred to a hospital within the last two weeks.
Eugene Cho, the pastor of Quest Church who has been counseling Bae’s family through their ordeal, shared on his blog that the Christian missionary was moved from his labor camp due to pre-existing health ailments, listed in previous reports as diabetes, heart problems and a fatty liver. Bae, 45 and born Pae Jun Ho, has reportedly lost 50 pounds since being sentenced in May.
“We’re terribly worried about his health. I think it has been deteriorating,” Chung said, according to local TV news station King5.com.
Chung insisted, however, that she believes Bae will return home long before his 15-year prison sentence plays out.
“I firmly believe he will come home. And not in 15 years. I hold onto faith in my God and in my government,” said Chung.