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Australian missionary John Short, who was deported from North Korea earlier this week, has spoken out about his experience in detention.

John Short, 75, was detained in Pyongyang after leaving Christian pamphlets at a tourist site.

In a statement to the Australian Associated Press, John Short said he was subjected to “gruelling interrogations”.

“There were two-hour sessions each morning, which were repeated again in the afternoons,” the Hong Kong-based missionary said.

John Short was deported from North Korea earlier this week

John Short was deported from North Korea earlier this week (photo EPA)

John Short also said being confined was stressful.

“This I found to be most painful physically as an active senior person,” he said.

John Short said he told his interrogators he was not a spy.

“I confessed that I had knowingly broken the law in what I believed is my God-directed duty and as I do in every place and country I visit,” he said.

Religious activity is severely restricted in North Korea and missionaries have been arrested on many previous occasions.

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Australian missionary John Short, who was detained in North Korea last month after it was reported that he distributed religious material, has been deported.

John Short, 75, who has arrived in Beijing from Pyongyang, was detained after apparently leaving Christian pamphlets at a tourist site.

State-run KCNA news agency said John Short had admitted breaking North Korean law and apologized.

It said he was being released partly in consideration of his age.

Religious activity is severely restricted in North Korea and missionaries have been arrested on many previous occasions.

“I’m really, really tired,” John Short told reporters in China’s capital, Beijing, after arriving on a commercial flight.


John Short was detained in North Korea last month after it was reported that he distributed religious material

John Short was detained in North Korea last month after it was reported that he distributed religious material

He was immediately escorted to a vehicle from the Australian embassy, reports say.

Earlier, KCNA reported: “Short acknowledged that his actions were… unforgivable crimes in violation of our laws, offered an apology and begged for forgiveness.”

It also said that John Short had distributed religious material on a busy underground train in Pyongyang during a previous tour in August 2012.

Australia does not have a diplomatic mission in Pyongyang and is represented there by the Swedish embassy.

In a statement on Monday, the Australian government said John Short’s release was “welcome news”.

“Australian consular officials stand ready to provide assistance to Mr. Short to ensure he can return to his home in Hong Kong as soon as possible,” it said.

“We take this opportunity to thank the Swedish government for their tireless efforts on this difficult consular case in recent weeks.”

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