US citizen sentenced to 10 years of hard labor in DPRK

World Today

Kim Dong Chul, center, a U.S. citizen detained in the DPRK, is escorted to his trial Friday, April 29, 2016, in Pyongyang. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)

The DPRK on Friday sentenced a U.S. citizen of Korean heritage to 10 years in prison after convicting him of espionage and subversion, the second American it has put behind bars this year.

Kim Dong Chul had been detained in the North since October 2015 on suspicion of engaging in spying and stealing state secrets.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison with hard labor after a brief trial in Pyongyang.

North Korea’s Supreme Court found Kim guilty of crimes and espionage and subversion of under Articles 60 and 64 of the North’s criminal code.

In January, DPRK officials allowed CNN to interview Kim. He identified himself as 62 years old and a naturalized American. He said he used to live in Fairfax, Virginia.

The DPRK regularly accuses Washington and Seoul of sending spies to overthrow its government to enable the U.S.-backed South Korean government to control the entire Korean Peninsula.

Some foreigners previously arrested have read statements of guilt they later said were coerced.

Most of those who are sentenced to long prison terms are released before serving their full time.