North Korea Frees Detained American Man
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - North Korea freed Jeffrey Fowle, one of three Americans detained by the country, and he is being flown home to his family in Ohio, according to the White House.
After departing from Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, the US plane carrying Fowle flew to the Pacific island of Guam, site of a major US navy base, before leaving for the US, Marie Harf, State Department spokesperson, said.
"In this time-frame the Department of Defence was able to offer a plane," she replied when asked if a military aircraft was used.
Harf said the release was facilitated by Swedish diplomats.
Sweden has an embassy in Pyongyang and acts as a "protecting power" for the US.
Passengers on another flight at Pyongyang airport reported seeing a blue-and-white US military passenger jet, a stars-and-stripes emblem on its tail, parked on the tarmac on Tuesday afternoon, a source in Pyongyang told Reuters.
Fowle, 56, a street repair worker from Miamisburg, Ohio, was arrested in May for leaving a bible at a sailor's club in the North Korean city of Chongjin, where he was travelling as a tourist.
The communist state is particularly sensitive to religious proselytising.
North Korea made it a condition of Fowle's release that the US government transport him out of the country and set a time for him to be picked up, US officials said.