Kenneth Bae releases memoir of time served in North Korea

Kenneth Bae in China before his arrest. (Photo courtesy
Kenneth Bae in China before his arrest in North Korea. (Photo courtesy

Lynnwood tour operator Kenneth Bae, who spent two years of a 15-year-sentence of hard labor in North Korea, has released a book about his time jailed in North Korea. “Not Forgotten” was released Tuesday.

Bae, a naturalized U.S. citizen, organized tours of North Korea when he was arrested and sentenced to hard labor in November 2012. He told CBS News that his underlying intent with the tours was missionary work, and that he was caught in North Korea with a hard drive with prayers and photos of starving children.

Missionary work is illegal in North Korea, according to the New York Times.

Bae also told CBS that he believes that he was being used a a political pawn, and stood in for all of the United States during the trial.

Bae’s case got some national attention after former basketball star Dennis Rodman criticized Bae, and praised North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a friend. Rodman later apologized after much criticism from the U.S. public.

When Bae was released in 2014, he had served the most time of any U.S. citizen jailed in North Korea. He was released along with another U.S. citizen, Matthew Todd Miller.

According to the New York Times, Bae is among 12 from the U.S. who have been arrested and jailed by North Korea since 2009.

The Associated Press interviewed Bae before the release of his book: