“Miller, 24, from Bakersfield, California, reportedly ripped up his tourist visa on arrival at Pyongyang airport on 10 April, claiming he wanted to seek asylum. Prosecutors said Miller had falsely claimed to have secret information about the US military in South Korea on his iPad and iPod.
“A photo released by the official Korean Central News Agency showed a pale-looking Miller, dressed in black, standing in the dock flanked by guards. Miller, who waived the right to a lawyer, was handcuffed and led from the courtroom after his sentencing.
“The US government had called on North Korea to release Miller and two other American detainees as a humanitarian gesture. This month Miller told US journalists who were in Pyongyang to cover an international wrestling event that he had written to Barack Obama requesting help but had not received a reply, the report said.
“My situation is very urgent,” he told CNN. “I think this interview is my final chance to push the American government into helping me.” Some analysts interpreted the North’s unusual decision to permit the interviews as a sign that it may be prepared to negotiate the men’s release. North Korea has yet to announce a trial date for another US citizen, Jeffrey Fowle, who entered North Korea on a tourist visa and was detained after leaving a copy of a Bible in the toilet of a sailors club in the port town of Chongjin. Fowle, from Moraine, Ohio, told AP in Pyongyang that he had been arrested at a hotel in the capital before being moved to a suite at a guesthouse. The 56-year-old and his Russian wife have written to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, asking for help, the Guardian said.