North Korean officials release detained Stanford alumnus

Dec. 4, 2013, 1:57 a.m.

Merrill Newman M.A. ‘55, a Palo Alto resident and Korean War veteran who was detained in North Korea for over a month, is scheduled to return home on Dec. 7.

The news comes a week after North Korean officials released a video of Newman reading an apology letter for acts of espionage he allegedly performed during his service in the Korean War.

Newman had  arranged a 10-day trip to North Korea with a friend, Robert Hamrdla ‘59, M.A. ’64, M.A. ’69— neighbor and former Stanford staff member. North Korean authorities escorted Newman off a plane in Pyongyang, North Korea, when he was headed back home on Oct. 26.

According to an Associated Press report, North Korean officials cited Newman’s repentance for his alleged war crimes, his age and medical condition as factors that led to his release.

“I am very glad to be on my way home, and I appreciate the tolerance the [North Korean] government has given to me to be on my way,” Newman told Associated Press reporters at an airport in Beijing.

Vice President Joe Biden, who was in Seoul during Newman’s release, offered Newman a ride in Air Force Two but Newman declined in favor of his direct flight to San Francisco.


Ileana Najarro is the Managing Editor of News at The Stanford Daily. She previously worked as a News Desk Editor and Staff Writer.

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