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Kenneth Bae returned to labor camp, sister pleads for his release #BringBackBae

Bae-Chung

Kenneth Bae, the 45-year-old American held in North Korea since 2012 leaves hospital and is sent back to labor camp. The US Department of State has expressed concern for him and his serious health condition with this latest development.

Spokeswoman, Jen Psaki said,

“The Department of State has learned that the DPRK (North Korea) transferred Mr. Bae from a hospital to a labor camp, a development with which we are deeply concerned.”

“We continue to urge DPRK authorities to grant Mr. Bae special amnesty and immediate release on humanitarian grounds,” she added.

Kenneth Bae’s sister pleads for his release.

“Our family was delighted to hear President Obama advocate for the release of Kenneth Bae during his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning:

“And finally, as we build the future we seek, let us never forget those who are persecuted today, among them Americans of faith. We pray for Kenneth Bae, a Christian missionary who has been held in North Korea for 15 months. Sentenced to 15 years of hard labor, 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.”

Tears sprung to our eyes as we heard the President affirm our family’s pleas and said he would do everything possible to secure my brother’s release. We are grateful to have the commitment of our nation’s highest leader to bringing Kenneth home, which is great reassurance to our weary spirits, now 15 months into Kenneth’s imprisonment in DPRK (North Korea).

We are so encouraged by the President’s remarks. President Obama joins a growing chorus of people from around the world who have advocated for Kenneth publicly or have reached out to us personally with a supportive word.

Yesterday the last surviving members of the U.S. Congress to have served in the Korean War—Rep. Charles Rangel from New York, Rep. John Conyers Jr. from Michigan, Rep. Sam Johnson from Texas and Rep Howard Coble from North Carolina—sent a letter to DPRK Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, asking him to release Kenneth. We thank them as well, as this movement to bring Kenneth home grows even stronger.

Every day, we receive heart-warming messages of encouragement and prayers from concerned citizens across the country. It is clear that many Americans are invested in this cause to see this fellow American come home to his family, and it gives us hope to continue our advocacy for Kenneth’s freedom.

We hope that President Obama’s remarks help spark further dialogue between the US and the DPRK toward a peaceful resolution for Kenneth’s case. We reiterate our plea to DPRK leaders to grant Kenneth amnesty and allow him to return home to his family. He has admitted his crimes in violation of DPRK laws, has served more than a year in detainment, and continues to struggle with his health. We ask for your mercy to allow Kenneth to come home.”

Terri Chung
Sister of Kenneth Bae
February 6, 2014

FreeKenNow (site no longer owned by the campaign)
Victories come by the tens of thousands of supporter signatures. Help our voice be heard to advocate for Kenneth’s release and implore our government to take direct, urgent action to bring him home. Sign the petition to bring Kenneth back home.

A letter-writing campaign for Kenneth was launched by the two American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, previously imprisoned in North Korea, because letters were what sustained them during their detainment.

Please send words of hope, strength, and news to: campaign has ended

Please avoid including anything in the letters that could potentially anger the North Koreans or put Kenneth in further jeopardy. To protect your identity (email address) from the North Korea, the letters are compiled and sent to the U.S. State Department. Letters may also be signed with your first name only. The screened letters are passed to Kenneth through the Swedish ambassador to North Korea, who handles relations with the DPRK on behalf of the United States. The United States does not have diplomatic relations with North Korea.

Please keep our brother, Kenneth Bae in your prayers!

American Detained By North Korea- Free Kenneth Bae

American citizen, Kenneth Bae sentenced by North Korea to 15 years in a labor camp

Kenneth Bae, an American sentenced by North Korea to 15 years in a hard labor camp.

According to those who know Kenneth Bae, he is someone who is always surrounded by friends, hosting homemade meals and regaling everyone with hilarious tales and his renditions of Elvis Presley tunes. He is the fun-loving uncle who showers his nieces with affection.

They claim he is someone who always does the right thing, no matter the cost. He is the guy who dropped out of college at the age of 22 to support his own young family. He is the guy who would come home late from working two jobs and just spend hours watching his baby son sleep.

He is the guy who follows his personal convictions, even to the ends of the world.

Several years ago, Kenneth saw an opportunity that combined his entrepreneurial spirit with his personal convictions as a Christian. He believed in showing compassion to the North Korean people by contributing to their economy in the form of tourism. Based out of China since 2006, he started his own tour company specializing in tours to North Korea, a remote country filled with stunning vistas and a people proud of their history and tradition. His livelihood was to introduce the natural beauty of the country and its people to the outside world as a tour operator. His heart was to be a personal touch-point of compassionate humanity to the North Korean people.

On November 3, 2012, North Korean authorities arrested Kenneth while he was leading a tourist group on one of his regular routine trips—a tour he had led at least over 15 times before—in Rason (Rajin-Sonbong), one of North Korea’s special economic zones for foreign investors.

He was charged with plotting to overthrow the communist government, but the exact details of his arrest are still unknown.

His family and friends say Kenneth is a good man with a big heart who only wanted to help the people of North Korea, and now he has been sentenced to 15 years in a hard labor camp for what the DPRK identified as “hostile acts” against the North Korean government.

Nine months into his imprisonment, Kenneth’s health was failing as his body strained to withstand the impact of the labor camp.

Kenneth has chronic health conditions, including diabetes, an enlarged heart, and back and leg pain. He is also losing his vision due to diabetes-related complications. He requires vital monitoring and medical treatment. Two hundred eighty days into his imprisonment, Kenneth’s family was informed of his transfer to a North Korean state hospital after further serious deterioration of his health.

CNN reported on July 3, 2013 that Kenneth appealed to the Korean authorities for forgiveness and asked the United States for help in securing his release. Pae Jun Ho, known as Kenneth Bae by U.S. authorities, was found guilty in an April 30 trial of “hostile acts to bring down its government” and planning anti-North Korea religious activities, according to the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

“Although my health is not good, I am being patient and coping well,” Bae said. “And I hope that with the help of the North Korean government and the United States, I will be released soon. I know what I did is not easily forgivable, but I hope that things will work out so that I can be with my family again soon,” said Bae.

In the interview footage, his head was shaved and his face noticeably thinner than the previous photos of the Korean-American.

On Oct. 11. 2013 Kenneth’s mother was allowed visitation with her son and offered him encouragement. His mother said she was grateful that they  were able to spend some time together. She also said,

I was happy to see him and to hold him, but it broke my heart to leave him behind. I am more anxious than ever to bring him home. His year-long imprisonment has taken a heavy toll not only on Kenneth but on the whole family; every day the pain and anxiety continue to carve a deep scar on all of our hearts.

I plead with our government to do everything in their power to secure my son’s release soon.

In a bizarre event back in Febuary 2013, the controversial former NBA player, Dennis Rodman visited the country with a brutal dictatorship and met with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Rodman said they ‘hung out’ and apparently became friends. In December, Rodman made a second trip back to North Korea, but before leaving had mentioned he would be the one to procure Kenneth Bae’s release.

Rodman returned back to the U.S. and he told reporters the topic of Bae’s detainment ‘never came up.’ Bobby Lee, a friend of Bae, spoke out against Dennis Rodman and made the following statement:

Dennis Rodman tweeted to the world that he would step up and bring American citizen Kenneth Bae back home from a North Korean prison. Rodman claimed that Obama couldn’t do it. But he could. Then he folded like a cheap tent.

“Guess what? That’s not my job to ask about Bae,” an angry Rodman said to the media after smoking cigars with the North Korean leader Kim Jung Un. How nice.

What really happened? Rodman used Bae’s misfortune to elevate his eroding Hollywood brand. He took advantage of Bae’s setback to stage his own comeback. All the free press he received around the world would make Justin Bieber blush. And he is the only one laughing all the way to the bank while Bae’s family and friends—and the American people—are left heartbroken.

Rodman says he wants to introduce North Koreans to the world. North Koreans will take one look at him and ask, “what planet is this guy from?” We can’t think of a better argument for Kim Jung Un’s policies of complete isolation from the rest of the world than Dennis Rodman.

Rodman, there’s a real person’s life at stake. You’ve gone too far.

They call Rodman the Worm. Starting today, I ask the American people to start calling Rodman by his new nickname: Cheap Tent.

Rodman has faced serious criticism over his ongoing relationship with the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, and for his refusal to leverage for the release of imprisoned Bae. In recent headlines, Rodman on his third trip to North Korea embarrassed himself while being interviewed by Chris Cuomo on CNN.

“Are you going to take an opportunity, if you get it, to speak up for the family of Kenneth Bae and say, Let us know why this man is being held?’ If you can help them, will you take the opportunity?” Obviously irritated for being asked about Kenneth Bae, Rodman accused him of an unspecified offense and was unable to give straight answers. In a rant, he screamed at Cuomo to recognize the sacrifice being made by his fellow players that he brought along on the trip.

Bae’s sister, Terri Chung, told Anderson Cooper 360 that Rodman’s comments were shocking and outrageous.

“He was in a position to do some good and to help advocate for Kenneth,” she said. “He refused to do so. But then instead he has chosen to hurl these outrageous accusations against Kenneth. He clearly doesn’t know anything about Kenneth, about his case. And so we were appalled by that.”

She said her brother was legally working as a tour operator in North Korea when he was arrested in November 2012. She said she hoped one of the former basketball players would take a chance to ask for amnesty for him.

“This isn’t some game. This is about a person’s life,” she said.

Rodman blamed his actions on being drunk and after sobering up, realized he’d made a mistake. He said, “I want to first apologize to Kenneth Bae’s family. I want to apologize to my teammates and my management team. I also want to apologize to Chris Cuomo. I embarrassed a lot of people. I’m  very sorry. At this point I should know better than to make political statements. I’m truly sorry.”

Kenneth’s family say they have accepted Rodman’s apology.

The U.S. government has said Kenneth Bae is not guilty of any crimes. Vice President Joe Biden said last month that Bae is being held without reason, which Pyongyang denies. On January 20, Kenneth commented at what he called a press conference held at his own request and under guard during the appearance. It is not unusual for prisoners in North Korea to say after their release that they spoke in similar situations under duress. He made an apology and said he had committed anti-government acts. He also said recent comments in the media from the U.S. side, most likely alluding to Biden’s remarks — have made his situation more complicated.

“I believe that my problem can be solved by close cooperation and agreement between the American government and the government of this country,” he said.
Family Reaction after Kenneth Bae Press Conference in North Korea

I had mixed emotions as I watched my brother today as he spoke from a hospital in North Korea (DPRK). I was encouraged that he appeared to be in decent health, but it was still painful to see him in his prison uniform, number 103. My brother is not a number to me, or to the rest of his family. He is a kind and loving husband, father, son and brother – and needs to be home immediately.

Kenneth was not his usual cheerful self during the press conference, as I am sure he is worn down physically and emotionally after 15 months of imprisonment. In his eyes, I could see that he was distressed. We remain gravely concerned about his health.

To the leaders of DPRK, we understand that Kenneth has been convicted of crimes under DPRK laws. Our family sincerely apologizes on Kenneth’s behalf. Kenneth has also acknowledged his crimes and has apologized. He has now served 15 months of his sentence, but faces chronic health problems. We humbly ask for your mercy to release my brother.

This is also the third time Kenneth has made a public plea to US leaders for help. Kenneth has been detained longer than any other American in recent history and the only one to do hard labor before his health failed. We do not know how long it will take for his release – or how long he will have to endure. We are worried that he will be sent back to the labor camp, as he mentioned was a possibility in today’s press conference.

We appreciate all work that our US leaders have done behind the scenes, but now we ask or increased support from our government to secure Kenneth’s release. We have faith in our government to protect the well-being of Americans both at home and abroad. We implore Secretary Kerry and President Obama to take immediate action to bring Kenneth home.

To all that may be reading this or listening, we need your VOICE. Please join us to advocate for Kenneth’s immediate release by calling your congressperson, the State Department and the White House, and by visiting: Note: CAMPAIGN HAS ENDED

Photo: Free Kenneth Now Facebook page

Photo: Free Kenneth Now Facebook page

The United States said Monday it was ready to send an envoy to North Korea to bring back a jailed American after he appeared before reporters in Pyongyang pleading for his release.

Kenneth Bae, a missionary arrested in November 2012 and jailed for 15 years, admitted to wrongdoing and called on the US government to help secure his freedom so that he could return to his family “at the earliest possible date.”

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Washington remained “very concerned” about Bae’s health and was actively working to release him.

“We continue to urge the DPRK authorities to grant Bae amnesty and immediate release,” Psaki said, referring to the North by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Another US official who requested anonymity voiced hope that putting Bae in front of reporters signalled North Korea’s “willingness to release him.”

The official said that Robert King, the US envoy on human rights in North Korea was prepared to bring Bae home.

“We have offered to send ambassador King to Pyongyang to secure Mr. Bae’s release. We have asked the North Koreans this, and await their early response,” the official said. Read Full coverage HERE

Many wonder if negotiations are a possibility. Terri Chung, Bae’s sister, weighed in with Andrea Mitchell on MSNCB. See video HERE

Secretary of State John Kerry met Tuesday with relatives of the American held by North Korea and is calling for him to be pardoned and immediately freed.

Bae’s mother Myunghee Bae and sister Terri Chung were invited to President Obama’s State of the Union address, hosted by two Democratic lawmakers.

Rep. Charles Rangel said that by inviting the family, he was reiterating his call for North Korea to free Bae.

“As a Korean War veteran, I have long advocated for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and hope North Korea would take steps to build trust and reconciliation by first reuniting the Bae family,” he said in a statement.

In Beijing, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Glyn Davies also appealed for Bae’s freedom, saying he’s already been held longer than any other American detainee in North Korea in recent decades.

Davies was in Beijing for talks with Chinese officials on how to persuade North Korea to return to nuclear disarmament talks.

“North Korea I think has made its point about Kenneth Bae and we are in frequent communication with the North Koreans to try to find a resolution to this issue. It’s very, very important to us,” Davies said. source

The family asks,

freekennethbaenowAs we wait, please remember to sign Kenneth’s petition, contact your government leaders at all levels, and send letters of encouragement and hope to Kenneth. Let us continue to pray, meditate, and talk to others about Kenneth, working every day to move one step closer to bringing him home.
Please sign the petition for special amnesty started by his son at Note: CAMPAIGN HAS ENDED
Please send a letter of hope to Kenneth.  Note: CAMPAIGN HAS ENDED

Chuck Norris joins fight and demands release of Americans imprisoned in Iran, North Korea

Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris

World champion tough guy Chuck Norris knows a good soldier never leaves a man  behind.

So despite near silence from America’s commander in chief, America’s  “commando in chief” is rising up to call for the rescue of two American  Christians held in prisons behind enemy lines.

In his  newest WND column, Norris announces he is “join[ing] the appeal to Iran and  North Korea for the release of American hostages like imprisoned American pastor  Saeed Abedini and missionary Kenneth Bae.

“I’m also calling upon President Obama and Congress to step up their action,”  Norris continues, “stand for religious freedom and fight for the release of  these godly men whose crimes were nothing more than exercising their faith.”

Read Chuck Norris’ column for full article, “Hostages, my granddaughters and hope of the world,” 

Pastor Abedini was sentenced in January to eight years in prison by an  Iranian court for starting house churches in the 2000s, and Bae was sentenced in  April to 15 years hard labor in a North Korean prison camp for conducting  missionary activity. Both remain today in brutal prison conditions that threaten  their lives.

Yet despite public pressure for the Americans’ release and a flurry of  diplomatic activity with Iran, the Obama administration has repeatedly refused  to make freeing the Americans a diplomatic priority.

Naghmeh Abedini, wife of pastor Abedini, recently  appealed to Congress after Obama completed a nuclear energy negotiation with  Iran without seeking release of her husband.

The pastor’s wife explained on Capitol Hill, “My husband is suffering because  he is a Christian. He’s suffering because he’s an American. … Yet his own  government did not fight for him when his captors were across the table.”

Norris is now challenging Obama, Congress and – if America’s elected leaders  won’t stand up for the task – the American people to take action.

“If our present government won’t fight for ours and others’ imprisoned  freedom, then America must call up its most mighty reserves and real power: We,  the people,” Norris writes.

“What value or use is it if America embodies freedom and liberty and yet its  government does nothing to fight for its imprisoned freedom fighters around the  world?” Norris asks. “And how ludicrous is it that we give other countries  billions of dollars, nuclear energy and buy nearly all of their manufactured  products, and in return they imprison our citizens with harsh sentences for  their petty ‘crimes’ that happened to be cherished freedoms to us?”

World Net Daily

Kenneth Bae, American Jailed In North Korea – Mother Describes Reunion As Emotional

Kenneth Bae held in North Korea with mother, Myunghee Bae

Kenneth Bae held in North Korea with mother, Myunghee Bae

(CNN) — Walking into a Pyongyang hospital room to greet her imprisoned son, Myunghee Bae was overcome with emotion. Talking exclusively to CNN, Bae said it was a “very happy moment. At the same time, I could not believe he was a prisoner in North Korea; a new realization.”

Bae was granted a five-day visa to North Korea and three short visits with her son, Kenneth; a total of six hours, in which she says there was not one moment’s silence. “He said he’s being treated very fairly,” she said. “He was taken to a special labor camp, so he was the only prisoner, and a whole lot of people have to stay with him, guards and doctors.” Full Article Here

Kenneth Bae’s Friends And Family Show Unwavering Hope And Support

Bae-Family-and-Bobby-Lee

Former UO student Kenneth Bae was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor by the North Korean Supreme Court on April 30. Since his sentencing, Bae’s hope for release has become an ever-increasing struggle, but his support from his friends and family remains strong.

One of the people working relentlessly to bring Bae back to the United States is Bobby Lee. Lee was a close friend of Bae’s when they both attended the UO, and is currently a policy adviser to Gov. John Kitzhaber.

“Ken and I pretty much hung out everyday,” Lee said. “He loved being a Duck.”

Along with Bae’s family, Lee makes as much contact as he can with Bae, and the best way they’re able to keep in touch is by sending letters, no matter how sporadic they may be.

“He’s sent letters to me and his family. I’m telling him to hang in there,” Lee said. “It’s not very frequent, but whenever we can we try to forward letters to him. I make sure to send him some photos of us so that he knows we’re together to help him.” Photos such as the one displayed above, with Lee, Bae’s mother and sister and Bae’s father who turned 70 on July 4. With tears in his eyes, Bae was hoping to be back in the states to celebrate his father’s 70th birthday.

Just like Bae says in his interview conducted by Choson Sinbo – a pro-North Korean organization based in Japan – Bae maintains in his letters that his health is dangerously deteriorating.

“His health is deteriorating consistently. He has an enlarged heart and diabetes, eye troubles and back issues, and they’re being exasperated from working hard labor all day,” Lee said. “On top of all of this, the mental stress that’s coming from the hard labor is undeniable. The isolation takes a toll.”

Bae has lost 50 pounds since he’s been sentenced.

In one of the letters Bae sent to Lee, he writes: “I am urging you to help get the U.S. Government to send a high ranking official to negotiate my release.”

Sweden is serving on behalf of the U.S. to try and negotiate bringing Bae back, and U.S. Ambassador Robert King, the president’s special envoy for North Korean human rights issues was sent to Pyongyang on Aug. 30 to try and free Bae, but both so far haven’t been able to do so.

Via Twitter, former NBA player Dennis Rodman said that he could bring back Bae from North Korea, but once he went to North Korea to visit Kim Jong-un, Rodman says he didn’t even bring up Bae.

“Guess what? That’s not my job to ask about Bae,” Rodman said to the press after he arrived back from visiting North Korea earlier in September.

“He’s using Bae’s misfortune to elevate his own Hollywood brand. He created a stage for himself, and he gave us all false hope,” Lee said. “We all got duped, and he’s walking away with millions of dollars and laughing. But I don’t think this is funny.”

Lee says that he has tried to contact Rodman multiple times by calling, emailing, writing letters and sending pictures of Bae and his family, but Rodman hasn’t responded.

“He created this expectation and he gave us all false hope,” Lee said. “He folded like nothing more but a cheap tent.”

Lee’s frustration towards Rodman is understandable, especially since Bae’s health is only getting worse each passing day. But even with all the struggles they’ve faced within the last five months and the ticking clock on Bae’s health, Lee and Bae’s family aren’t giving up hope.

“It’s important that we keep spreading the word about Ken, and raising awareness about his situation,” Lee said. “We’re doing everything we can to help him out, and we’re not stopping.”

by Craig Garcia @ Daily Emerald

Amnesty for my father Kenneth Bae, a U.S. citizen imprisoned in a North Korean Special Labor Camp

  • Petitioning The President of the United States

This petition will be delivered to:

The President of the United States
The U.S. Senate
The U.S. House of Representatives
Secretary of State John Kerry

Amnesty for my father Kenneth Bae, a U.S. citizen imprisoned in a North Korean Special Labor Camp

by Kenneth’s son, Jonathon Bae

My father Kenneth Bae, an American citizen, is being imprisoned in a North Korea (DPRK) labor camp. Please sign my petition to free him now.

My father—like any other American father—was working hard to provide for his family. Through his tour company that he started, he was able to show the natural beauty of North Korea to many. My father was arrested on November 3, 2012 while working as a tour operator in Rason (Rajin-Sonbong), one of North Korea’s special economic zones for foreign investors. My father is a good man with the biggest heart for the people and nation of North Korea, and now he has been sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for what the DPRK identified as anti-government activities.

On July 3, 2013, the eve of two important events—America’s Independence Day and my grandfather’s 70th birthday—a video of my father was released from the North Korean labor camp. My family was shocked to see him! He had lost a significant amount of weight, and his time in prison has clearly taken a toll on his health—and this was only two months into his 15-year sentence. The video showed my father working eight hours of physical labor in the fields, plowing and farming six days a week. He has chronic health conditions, including diabetes, heart problems and back pain, which require close monitoring and medical treatment.  We don’t know how quickly his health will deteriorate and how much longer his body can withstand the impact of the labor camp.

In my father’s prison interview, he asked for help from the United States government. He tells us that the only way to bring him home will be for the United States government to take more proactive action to secure Special Amnesty from the DPRK. My father had hopes of being home to celebrate his father’s 70th birthday, which was on the Fourth of July. I can only imagine that his hope now is to make it through another day, one day at a time until he is finally reunited with his family.

My family and I have hopes, too. We have been distraught by my father’s deteriorating health and his sentence of hard labor. However, we have not given up hope because we have faith in our government to represent and protect American citizens here and abroad.

Please sign my petition asking the Obama Administration to pursue every course of possible action, without delay, to secure Special Amnesty for my father and allow him to come home to his family and friends.

SIGN THE PETITION HERE Note: CAMPAIGN HAS ENDED

Please sign the petition and get your family and friends to sign it also!

Mark A. Kellner: Keep Victims of Religious Persecution in Prayers

the-persecuted-church

By Jeremy Reynalds Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service, Crossmap

One of the greatest things about living in the U.S. is the freedom of religion granted under the Constitution’s First Amendment. Writing in the Washington Times, Mark A. Kellner reminds readers we can attend worship services at any church, synagogue, mosque, meeting house, temple or assembly, and promote our religion without too much hassle.

Not every place in the world is as fortunate, as ongoing headlines worldwide show.

egypt mapThe violent uprising in Egypt, as opponents of the current military-backed regime keep up their protests in the streets, has spilled over onto Coptic and other Christian churches.

Kellner says according to journalist Elizabeth Iskander Monier, writing at the “Egypt Unwrapped” blog of the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, the Copts “have no cheek left to turn” in the face of persecution.

Copts are targets of Muslim Brotherhood protesters, Monier writes, because they welcomed the removal of President Mohammed Morsi.

In turn, she notes, churches have been burned, and a 10-year-old Coptic girl, Jessica Boulos, was reportedly shot as she left a Coptic church.

Kellner says Monier notes that these attacks, and others, have largely been ignored by global media outlets that, understandably, are trying to keep up with the overall instability and tumult in Egypt.

According to a transcript of his Martha’s Vineyard remarks on the crisis, President Obama noted the situation involving the Copts.

“We call on those who are protesting to do so peacefully and condemn the attacks that we’ve seen by protesters, including on churches,” he said.

However, Kellner says, Egypt is far from the only place where people of faith are facing serious challenges in just trying to be faithful to their beliefs.

pray syriaUnconfirmed reports from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights say that Rev. Paolo Dall’Oglio, 58, a Roman Catholic priest who disappeared in a rebel-controlled area of Syria on July 29, was killed by rebels linked to Al Qaeda.

The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying the report could not be confirmed.

Kellner says the fact that Dall’Oglio (who has spent much of the last 30 years working to restore an ancient church in Syria), disappeared during the fighting in Syria suggests how dangerous the Syrian situation is for all, but especially those who are part of minority religious groups there.

kenneth-bae-detained-american-in-north-koreaAlso this week, news came out from North Korea concerning Kenneth Bae, an American citizen and missionary sentenced to 15 years in a prison camp.

Bae has been moved to a hospital from the prison camp, where he had been working eight hours a day as a farmhand. During his imprisonment, Bae, who has other health issues, lost 50 pounds and his condition was such that hospitalization was considered necessary.

In Seattle, Kellner says, family and friends have organized prayer meetings and petition drives to secure Bae’s release.

Islamist Boko Haram guerrillas in northern Nigeria attacked several villages in Borno state on Aug. 10 and 11, killing 50 people and injuring dozens more, according to ASSIST News Service Founder Dan Wooding.

NigeriaWooding says the ongoing Boko Haram campaign, which previously was directly largely at churches in the region as well as individuals going to or coming from houses of worship, has now expanded to mosques deemed unfriendly to the Boko Haram partisans.

These reports – and myriad others – underscore the huge challenge many people of faith face around the world.

Kellner says those who believe in, and support, religious liberty, can help by staying informed, praying and certainly lobbying government leaders here and abroad to respect the most basic of human rights; that of the freedom to follow the faith of one’s choice, and to share belief freely

For more information visit www.washingtontimes.com

Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter, http://www.joyjunction.org He has a master’s degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is “A Sheltered Life.”

Christian Missionary Kenneth Bae Moved to Hospital in North Korea, Health May Be Failing

kenneth-bae-detained-american-in-north-korea

Kenneth Bae, a U.S. citizen sentenced to 15 years of hard labor by North  Korean officials for alleged plans to overthrow the government, has been moved  to a medical facility due to his failing health, his sister told supporters  during a vigil at a Seattle church over the weekend.

Terri Chung, speaking through tears during a vigil at Quest Church in  Seattle, told about 100 people who came to pray for her brother’s freedom and  well-being on Saturday that she had been informed by Swedish officials, who  represent the United States’ interest in relations with North Korea, that Bae  had been transferred to a hospital within the last two weeks.

Eugene Cho, the pastor of Quest Church who has been counseling Bae’s family  through their ordeal, shared on his blog that the Christian missionary was moved  from his labor camp due to pre-existing health ailments, listed in previous  reports as diabetes, heart problems and a fatty liver. Bae, 45 and born Pae Jun  Ho, has reportedly lost 50 pounds since being sentenced in May.

“We’re terribly worried about his health. I think it has been deteriorating,”  Chung said, according to local TV news station King5.com.

Chung insisted, however, that she believes Bae will return home long before  his 15-year prison sentence plays out.

“I firmly believe he will come home. And not in 15 years. I hold onto faith  in my God and in my government,” said Chung.

She added, “We’re hoping what little noise we’re making in this corner of  Seattle will spread. In the end, it’s not up to us. We feel completely  hopeless.”

Bae, married with three children, was born in South Korea and moved to the  United States in the mid-80s. While his family in the U.S. lives in Lynnwood,  Wash., he and his wife had been living in China, where he operated a tour  company at the time of his arrest last November. North Korean officials cited  evidence found in his possession at the time of his arrest, as well as a  confession from Bae, to support charges that he had been using his frequent  tours into the country to evangelize and encourage prayers for God to bring  change to the communist regime.

Pastor Cho, calling Bae “a son, a father, a husband, a brother…and also a  follower of Christ,” suggested that the missionary was charged “in essence” for  being a Christian and charged “officially” for his work, messages and prayers  for the walls of North Korea to come down so that the gospel would spread —  deemed as an attempt to overthrow the government. North Korea, governed by a  juche ideology, is resolutely hostile to any unsanctioned religion (read more about religion in North Korea).

Read full article at CP World

American Christian Losing Eye Sight in North ‪‎Korea‬ Prison due to Intense Labor

Kenneth Bae

Kenneth Bae, an American citizen, was arrested by North Korean authorities in November of 2012 for allegedly committing “hostile acts” against the North Korean state.  During his visits to North Korea he was known for feeding the North Korean orphans who were starving from malnutrition.

Bae was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.  Bae has a number of health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and back problems.  Terri Chung, Bae’s sister, revealed that the diabetic Bae is going blind.    He turned 45 this week.
North Korea is the world’s worst persecutor of Christians and it is believed that tens of thousands of Christians remain locked up in prison camps around the country. Please pray for God’s intervention on behalf of Kenneth Bae.

Read the full story here

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