U.S. Citizen Sentenced To 15 Years Hard Labor In North Korea Starts Life In "Special Prison"

KCNA (North Korea), AP


PYONYANG - U.S. citizen Pae Jun-ho who was recently sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea, has started life a "special prison," state media said Wednesday.

Pae, known in the U.S. as Kenneth Bae, has been detained in North Korea since last November. He was tried on April 30, for allegedly committing “hostile acts against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” reportsthe North Korean News Agency.

In a brief dispatch, the state-owned news agency said that the 44-year-old Korean-American tour operator had entered a "special prison" – without elaborating on what the term actually implied.

According to the AP, North Korea has recently released several statements about Pae, and outside analysts have said Pyongyang is likely using him as bait to win diplomatic concessions in a standoff over its nuclear weapons program – although North Korea has denied this.

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File:Parsin Gas and CNG Station in Karaj-Qazvin Freeway, Iran ...

Gas stations in many Iranian cities had trouble supplying fuel earlier in the week in what was a suspected cyberattack on the fuel distribution system. One Tehran daily on Thursday blamed Israel, which may have carried out similar acts in past years, to weaken Iran's hostile regime.

The incident reportedly disrupted the credit and debit card payments system this time, forcing users to pay cash and higher prices, the London-based broadcaster Iran International reported.

Though state officials didn't publicly accuse anyone specific, they did say perhaps this and other attacks had been planned for October, to "anger people" on the anniversary of the anti-government protests of 2019.

Khamenei, where's our gas?

Cheeky slogans were spotted Tuesday in different places in Iran, including electronic panels over motorways. One of them read "Khamenei, where's our gas?"

Iran International reported that Tehran-based news agency ISNA posted, then deleted, a report on drivers also seeing the message "cyberattack 64411" on screens at gas stations, purported to be the telephone number of the office of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

A member of parliament's National Security Committee, Vahid Jalalzadeh, said the attack had been planned months ahead, and had inflicted "grave losses," Iran International and domestic agencies reported Thursday. The conservative Tehran newspaper Kayhan named "America, the Zionist regime and their goons" as the "chief suspects" in the attack.

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