By AMANDA LEE MYERS
(CINCINNATI, AP) — The wife and three children of an American man charged with “anti-state” crimes in North Korea are planning to attend a news conference in an effort to help his case, about 10 days after he pleaded with the U.S. government to intervene.
The family of Jeffrey Edward Fowle, 56, of Miamisburg in southwestern Ohio, is set to attend the news conference Tuesday at the law office of an attorney and family friend acting as their spokesman.
The attorney, Tim Tepe, is expected to read the statement and said that Fowle’s family will not be answering questions.
Fowle was detained sometime after he arrived in North Korea on April 29 for what the communist country says are hostile acts that violated his tourist status.
Diplomatic sources said Fowle was detained for leaving a Bible in his hotel room.
Tepe has said Fowle was not on a mission for his church, that he was in North Korea on vacation as part of a tour and “loves the adventure of experiencing different cultures and seeing new places.”
North Korea has said authorities are preparing to bring Fowle and another American detainee, 24-year-old Matthew Todd Miller, of Bakersfield, California, before a court, but hasn’t yet specified what they did that was considered hostile or illegal, or what kind of punishment they might face. The date of the trial has not been announced.
In a recent interview with a local AP Television News crew, Fowle said he fears his situation will worsen with a trial.
“The horizon for me is pretty dark,” Fowle said on Aug. 1. “I don’t know what the worst-case scenario would be, but I need help to extricate myself from this situation. I ask the government for help in that regards.”
It was not clear if Fowle and Miller, who also was interviewed by the crew, were speaking on their own initiative, or if their comments were coerced. The TV crew was permitted to ask them questions.
The Fowles have three children, ages 9, 10 and 12. Jeffrey Fowle works in a city streets department.
Washington has no diplomatic ties with North Korea and no embassy in Pyongyang. Instead, the Swedish Embassy takes responsibility for U.S. consular affairs there.