Kenneth Bae, an American citizen currently imprisoned in North Korea, will get a visit with his mother Myunghee Bae on Friday for the first time in his 11-month imprisonment, according to Bae's family. Myunghee Bae arrived in the country on Thursday to see her ailing son, who was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor earlier this year.
Bae, 45, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in April on charges of "hostile acts" against North Korea. The American was a tour guide and evangelical missionary based out of China for several years before his detention in North Korea last November. Officials there have thrown a number of accusations his way, including a conspiracy theory that Bae was part of a Christian plot to overthrow the government.
After serving a few months in a prison camp, Bae was transferred this summer to a hospital due to illness. According to the Associated Press, his ailments include "diabetes, an enlarged heart, liver problems and back pain," along with a weight loss of over 50 pound since his imprisonment. In a video statement filmed before her departure, Bae said "I want to see him and comfort him and hold him in person," adding, "I miss him so much." Her trip will last 5 days.
Bae's family have suffered a handful of dashed hopes for his release in recent months: In August, the State Department made plans to send its first official representative in two years to North Korea in order to ask for Bae's freedom. But that trip was cancelled by North Korean officials. Soon after, Dennis Rodman announced his second trip to the country to visit his friend Kim Jong Un, after the former NBA player announced he would do something about Bae's plight several months ago. But, it turns out, Dennis Rodman doesn't actually care about Bae.