Jeffrey Fowle, an American detainee who was released from North Korea in October has revealed some of the most surprising, but not shocking, details about the notorious Hermit Kingdom in an exclusive interview with ABC News.
Fowle was freed nearly six months after he was taken into custody on charges of leaving a Bible in a nightclub, in a country where the dictatorship severely restricts religious activity.
"I was motivated by the stories I had heard of the severe persecution of the underground Christian church there," he said, adding his wife Tatyana had warned him about taking the Bible into North Korea.
Besides the fact that North Korea has strict policies pertaining to different religions, it remains the most dangerous country for Christians around the globe, according to a report by Open Doors USA – a nonprofit group that raises awareness about persecuted Christians all over the world.
“I don't recommend anybody sneaking across the border with a sack full of Bibles or tracts," Fowle cautioned. "They're serious about their anti-religion in the DPRK."
While most of Fowle's North Korea experiences aren't anything new to observers, there was one rather surprising revelation – he wasn’t tortured during his imprisonment.
In September 2013, United Nations human rights investigators said in their first report on violations in North Korea that inmates in prison camps suffered starvation, torture and other unspeakable atrocities.
"Physically I was not abused at all," Fowle told ABC News. "Three meals a day. After I was there for about two weeks straight, my interpreter would go out with me for 30-, 40-minute walks."
Apart from Fowle, two other Americans convicted of crimes in North Korea are still being held.
Matthew Miller, 24, from Bakersfield, California, was found guilty in September of entering North Korea illegally and committing acts of espionage “under the guise of a tourist.” He has been sentenced to six years of hard labor.
Kenneth Bae, 46, of Lynwood, Washington, is a Korean-American missionary who is currently serving a 15-year sentence for alleged and unspecified "hostile acts." He was arrested in November 2012 while traveling with four other tourists in the northeastern city of Rajin – a major seaport and special North Korean economic zone.
Addressing Fowle’s release, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said it was a positive decision by North Korea, however, he urged Pyongyang to release the other two Americans as well.
Watch Jeffrey Fowle’s interview with ABC in the video below: