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Obama: Kenneth Bae Deserves To Be Free

AP Photo/The Choson Sinbo, Mun Kwang Son
Kenneth Bae, right, an American man detained in North Korea since Nov. 2012, and his mother Myunghee Bae were able to meet at a Pyongyang hospital last October.

President Obama said Thursday the United States is still trying to win the release of former Lynnwood, Wash., resident Kenneth Bae from North Korea.

Speaking during the National Prayer Breakfast, a non-denominational gathering of political leaders in Washington, D.C., Obama said the country has not forgotten Americans of faith who are being persecuted.

“We pray for Kenneth Bae: A Christian missionary who’s been held in North Korea for 15 months, sentenced to 15 years of hard labor," Obama said. "His family wants him home. And the United States will continue to do everything in our power to secure his release because Kenneth Bae deserves to be free.”

Obama’s statement is the latest time the federal government has publicly shown support for Bae. Bae’s family also attended the President’s State of the Union Address last week.

Bae was arrested for unspecified anti-government activity while leading a tour group in North Korea. Supporters say he did nothing wrong.

Year started with KUOW: 1998.