North Korea's history of taking US prisoners
The parents of US tourist Otto Warmbier, who died after being imprisoned in North Korea, say he was tortured. His case is an extreme example when compared to other US citizens who have been held captive by Pyongyang.
'Crimes against the state'
In 2016, US student Otto Warmbier was arrested for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster as a "trophy." He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for "crimes against the state." In June 2017, he was returned by North Korea to the US in a coma and died a week later. What happened to him in captivity is a mystery. His death prompted a ban on US citizens traveling to North Korea.
'Subversion and espionage'
Kim Dong Chul, a South Korea-born US citizen, was sentenced in 2015 to 10 years hard labor for "subversion and espionage" after North Korean officials said he received a USB stick containing nuclear-linked and military secrets from a South Korean source in North Korea. Chul was arrested while visiting the special economic zone of Rason. He remains imprisoned and his condition is unknown.
'Trying to overthrow the regime'
In 2013, North Korea sentenced US citizen Kenneth Bae to 15 years hard labor for "crimes against the state." He was arrested while on a tour group in the port city of Rason. A North Korean court described Bae as a militant Christian evangelist. He was allowed to talk to the media once, and said he was forced to work eight hours a day and was in poor health. Bae was released in November 2014.
'Rash behavior' and 'hostile acts'
In 2013, US citizen Matthew Miller was arrested when he arrived in Pyongyang and reportedly tore up his US passport, demanding asylum in North Korea. He was later sentenced to six years of hard labor on charges of espionage. The court said Miller had a "wild ambition" to experience prison life so that he could secretly investigate North Korea's human rights situation. He was released in 2014.
'Criminal involved in killing civilians'
In 2013, Merrill Newman an 85-year-old Korean War US Army veteran, was detained for one month in North Korea. Arrested as he was departing, he was accused of "masterminding espionage and subversive activities." He was freed after he expressed "sincere repentance" and read a statement that said he was "guilty of a long list of indelible crimes against the DPRK government and Korean people."
Freed by a diplomatic gesture
US journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling were captured in 2009 after briefly entering North Korea to report on refugees. After a month in confinement, they were sentenced to 12 years hard labor for "illegal entry and "hostile acts." Two months later, after former US President Bill Clinton met with former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang, the two women were pardoned and freed.