Marine veteran Chris Ahn spent 6 years in the Marine Corps. He was arrested in the US based on claims from Spain that he and several other activists allegedly broke into the North Korean Embassy in Madrid, Spain and tied up several diplomats. It is the first time a US citizen was arrested based on unsubstantiated claims made by North Koreans. His attorney stated that the claims are not credible and the US government should not have arrested him. He is currently out on bail.
After his service, in 2019 while he was in Spain, Ahn joined a group called “Free Joseon” – which means “Free North Korea.” The group has helped several North Koreans defect. One action took the activists to the North Korean Embassy, where, according to Fox, surveillance footage revealed that they did not actually “break in” to the facility, but walked in quietly and one of them held a conversation with a member of the diplomatic corps. One unidentified person took a picture of Kim Jong-Un and his father off the wall and smashed them, but that person did not appear to be Chris Ahn. The activists stated that they were at the embassy as part of a preplanned effort to help the ambassador flee.
At the hearing this week in Los Angeles, Otto Warmbrier’s family came to plead for the Marine, and said that there is no doubt that even if he is extradited to just Spain, North Korea would find a way to have him killed. Other experts also stated that he is in mortal danger if extradited.
“Our government failed us. They told us to keep quiet. They told us Otto will be home soon. No one ever stands up to North Korea. Well, I am standing up to North Korea. I am standing up for Chris Ahn, a good man. North Korea will kill Chris if he’s extradited. Please stop this injustice.”Cindy Warmbrier, Mother of Otto Warmbrier
Attorneys for Chris Ahn plan to “vigorously” fight against extradition.
“The extradition papers from Spain confirm that almost the entire case against Mr. Ahn is based on uncorroborated statements made by high-ranking North Korean officials. The statements made by these officials are not credible. For example, they contain many inconsistencies as to who was allegedly tied up and how everyone supposedly got free. … There are no medical records to corroborate the injuries the officials supposedly suffered. We plan to vigorously contest the extradition hearing and show that the case against Chris is not supported by competent evidence...
We walked out of the courtroom today with more hope than we could have imagined. The judge clearly understands the danger to Mr. Ahn and the weight of the responsibility on her shoulders. Mr. Ahn is a hero who is innocent of the North Korean allegations against him. I hope common sense and human decency will prevail and end this nightmare for Mr. Ahn and his family.”Naeun Rim, Attorney for Chris Ahn (statement to Fox)
Ahn’s attorney says that when he returned to the United States, he gave all of the sensitive information they obtained that day to the FBI, including thumb drives and computer discs.
The judge did seem to realize the Ahn faces extreme danger should he be sent back to Spain, and remarked that “he seemingly has more reason to fear assassination or other harm from North Korea should he be returned to Spain.”
No ruling has been made, and the judge gave attorneys until June 6 to produce any further documents for the court. North Korea lies, and is able to assassinate people from afar, so there is no question that the Marine veteran is in harm’s way.
Featured photo: US Marine Corps photo of Chris Ahn
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