US man illegally in North Korea says not detained

Pyongyang: North Korea today presented to the media an American who says he illegally crossed into the country but has not been put into custody and is seeking asylum in Venezuela.

Arturo Pierre Martinez, 29, of El Paso, Texas, said he entered North Korea by crossing the river border with China. Details of how and when he got into the country were not immediately clear. In his comments to reporters, Martinez strongly criticised the US for alleged human rights violations.

His comments come amid North Korea's own loud protests of a resolution in the United Nations that could open the door for its leaders to face charges of crimes against humanity for human rights violations, raising questions of whether Martinez was trotted out to the media for propaganda purposes.

North Korea recently released three Americans two who had entered the country on tourist visas and Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American missionary who had been convicted of "anti-state" crimes.

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