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The United States will urge North Korea to grant amnesty to Kenneth Bae, a US citizen sentenced to 15 years hard labour for what Pyongyang said were crimes against the state, a US official told Reuters.
Kenneth Bae, 44, who was born in South Korea but is an American citizen, has been held since November when he visited the North Korean city of Rason.
He was tried in the country's Surpreme Court on charges of plotting to overthrow the government but the exact nature of his alleged crime has not been revealed.
North Korea says it has sentenced a detained American to 15 years of hard labour, according to Associated Press.
Kenneth Bae, an American detained for nearly six months in North Korea, has been sentenced to 15 years of "compulsory labour" for unspecified crimes against the state, Pyongyang announced.
He is described by friends as a devout Christian and a tour operator.
Latest ITV News reports
The sentencing of a US citizen by a North Korean court complicates the existing tense negotiating position between America and North Korea.