Americans held in N. Korea ask for help - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Americans held in N. Korea ask for help

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American journalists were allowed a five-minute interview with three Americans held in North Korea. From left, Jeffery Fowle, Matthew Miller and Kenneth Bae. (Source: CNN) American journalists were allowed a five-minute interview with three Americans held in North Korea. From left, Jeffery Fowle, Matthew Miller and Kenneth Bae. (Source: CNN)
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(CNN) - In a surprising move, the North Korean government allowed a CNN crew to interview three Americans currently being held captive.

The three Americans held are Matthew Miller, of Bakersfield, CA, Kenneth Bae and Jeffery Fowle. Bae is serving a 15-year term at labor camp.

Interviews with the captives were allowed with foreign media for five minutes at time in a hotel room in Pyonyang. Journalists conducted the interviews in front of a group of North Korean government officials who were timing the interviews.

The officials told the American journalists if the interview extended more than the allowed time, the consequences would be severe, according to CNN reporter Will Ripley.

Reporters were instructed to only ask questions about the charges the Americans are facing, their treatment and any messages to family and the U.S. government.

North Korea's government news agency reported Miller was taken into custody in mid-April.The agency said he tore up his tourist visa, planning to seek asylum in North Korea.For what purpose, the state news agency did not say.

Fowle, 56, of Miamisburg, OH, is suspected of leaving a Bible in a night club in a northern city. Proselytizing is a crime in North Korea.

Bae, who has been held since November 2012, is a Korean-American missionary. His family says he has health problems, including diabetes.

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