N. Korea to Release American Missionary

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North Korea says it will release an American missionary who entered the country illegally on Christmas Day.

Twenty-eight-year-old Arizona native Robert Park told friends he was going to North Korea to raise awareness about the country's human rights abuses.

The Korean Central News Agency reports the government decided to "leniently forgive and release him" after he showed repentance and admitted to committing a crime.

It released a transcript of what it says is Park's confession in which he says he had a wrong impression of North Korea because of "Western propaganda."

The transcript also quotes Park as saying he now believes "there is complete religious freedom" in North Korea. There was no information about when Park would be released but his family in California are thrilled by the prospect.

"We are very excited but I don't know if it's real or not," said Park's father Pyong Park. "We are happy, really happy."

North Korea has one of the world's worst human rights records with more than 100,000 political prisoners held in six camps across the country.

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