Californian Matthew Miller, who was detained in April in North Korea, was sentenced Sunday to six years with labor on charges of entering the country illegally and trying to commit an act of espionage, according to KCNA, the official North Korean news agency.
KCNA said Miller, 24, committed acts hostile to North Korea while entering the country “under the guise of a tourist.” After a brief session, the country’s Supreme Court denied Miller any appeal.
After entering North Korea on April 10, Miller, who is from Bakersfield, opted to not travel with staff from the American company that organized his trip or with other Western tourists but only with North Korean guides. It is less common and more expensive for Western tourists to travel only with guides from the North.
While traveling, Miller reportedly tore up his visa and declared himself “not a tourist.” The court said he intended to “experience prison life so that he could investigate the human rights situation.”
North Korea recently allowed Miller and two other American detainees to be briefly interviewed by CNN, but Miller refused at that time to comment on why he tore up his visa.Uri Tours, the New Jersey-based company that organized Miller’s trip, said they assisted him in designing a custom tour.