Aussie tells of N Korea kidnap ordeal

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 3 Apr 2020

An Australian student arrested for spying and expelled from North Korea last year has revealed details of his interrogation.

Among the crimes Alek Sigley was accused of committing was posting a picture of a toy tank on Instagram, which his interrogators said was military espionage.

Sigley, 30, was studying modern Korean literature at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang when he went missing in June.

"You son of a bitch," he was told in an expletive-laden rant. "Coming into our country and committing all these crimes. You think [Donald] Trump or [Mike] Pompeo will save your sorry arse?" Sigley recalled in a column published by the Guardian newspaper.

If Sigley denied the allegations, "they began yelling at me, reminding me that I could face execution by firing squad if I didn't carry out my 'reflection' and do it 'sincerely.'"

With no diplomatic representation in Pyongyang, Canberra turned to Sweden, who sent an envoy and Sigley was released after nine days. Pyongyang said he was freed on grounds of "humanitarian forbearance."

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