Merrill Newman, 85, was held captive by North Korea for about six weeks.
Merrill Newman is coming home.
The 85-year-old Korean War veteran has been deported from North Korea and his headed back to the United States, Reuters reports.
Newman had been held on charges of “hostile acts” against the state for his role in the war, where he served as solider working with guerrillas fighting the North. The grandfather was deported Friday on humanitarian grounds after admitting wrongdoing and apologizing, North Korea’s KCNA news agency reports.
The news comes after Newman was detained for about six weeks following nine days touring the communist country. He was pulled from a plane in Pyongyang Oct. 26 as he prepared to leave after a sightseeing vacation.
The Pyongyang regime released a video last week of Newman apologizing and confessing to being “guilty of a long list of indelible crimes against DPRK government and Korean people.”
U.S. citizen Merrill E. Newman puts his thumbprint on a piece of paper, after being taken into custody by North Korea, at an undisclosed location in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang.
DPRK is short for Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s formal name.
“I realize that I cannot be forgiven for my offensives (offenses) but I beg for pardon on my knees by apologizing for my offensives (offenses) sincerely toward the DPRK government and the Korean people and I want not punish me (I wish not to be punished),” Newman, who has a heart rhythm disorder, was quoted as saying by KCNA.
Newman is from Palo Alto, Calif., and his wife Lee and son Jeff have pleaded publicly for his release. He had medical issues, they said – and “he needs to be home for the holidays” with his family, Lee said.
United States officials have been cagey about identifying Newman as the man held captive by the North Koreans.
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With News Wire Services