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'I'm good:' Missing Australian student Alek Sigley released from detention in North Korea

Rosie Perper , Business Insider US
 Jul 04, 2019, 11:00 AM
Kim Jong Un delivering his New Year speech in January 2019, where he warned that North Korea could find a "new way for defending the sovereignty of the country" if the US didn't lift sanctions.
  • Alek Sigley, an Australian Master's student studying in North Korea, has been released from detention, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Thursday local time.
  • "Earlier this morning we were advised that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea had released Alek from detention, and he has now safely left the country," Morrison said in a statement. "He is safe and well."
  • Morrison did not provide further details on the Sigley's detention or his current whereabouts.
  • Sigley arrived in Beijing on Thursday morning, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and told reporters at the airport that he was "good." He declined to answer questions about what transpired in North Korea.
  • Sigley was reported missing last week, and his family confirmed that he had not been in contact with them for several days, prompting concern. Australia's Department of Homeland Affairs confirmed at the time that it was "providing consular assistance … to the family of an Australian man who has been reported as being detained in North Korea," but declined to provide further details.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.

Alek Sigley, an Australian Master's student studying in North Korea, has been released from detention, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Thursday local time.

"We are pleased to announce that Alek Sigley has today been released from detention in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)," Morrison said in a statement. "He is safe and well."

"Swedish authorities advised the Australian Government that they met with senior officials from the DPRK yesterday and raised the issue of Alek's disappearance on Australia's behalf," Morrison continued.

"Earlier this morning we were advised that the DPRK had released Alek from detention, and he has now safely left the country."

Morrison also expressed gratitude to Swedish authorities for their help in facilitating Alek's release: "This outcome demonstrates the value of the discreet, behind the scenes work of officials in resolving complex and sensitive consular cases, in close partnership with other governments."

Morrison did not provide further details on Sigley's detention.

Sigley arrived in Beijing on Thursday morning, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and told reporters at the airport that he was "good." He declined to answer questions about what transpired in North Korea.

The 29-year-old, originally from Perth, Australia, had been studying at Kim Il Sung University in North Korea's capital of Pyongyang. He was reported missing last week.

Australia's Department of Homeland Affairs confirmed at the time that it was "providing consular assistance … to the family of an Australian man who has been reported as being detained in North Korea," but declined to provide further details.

A spokesperson for his family later said that Alek had not been in digital contact for several days, prompting concern. While social media is largely banned in North Korea, Sigley has been able to access Twitter and Facebook, where he frequently uploads photos and videos of his experiences.

North Korea has limited diplomatic relations with Australia, and neither country has an official diplomatic presence in the other country.

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