Merrill Newman, the 85-year-old Korean war veteran from Palo Alto, Calif. who was detained in October for “hostile acts against the state [North Korea],” arrived at San Francisco Airport mid-morning on Saturday.
“This is a great moment for us as a family, and it will be even better when we have a chance to be back together in a few hours,” said his son, Jeffrey Newman. “After Merrill comes home and has a chance to get a well deserved rest, we will have more to say about his unusual and difficult journey.”
He also thanked the Swedish embassy in North Korea’s capital of Pyongyang for helping his father while in captivity.
On Oct. 26., Newman was pulled from an airplane that was about to leave Pyongyang, North Korea, after he told guides about his service in a clandestine anti-communist army during the Korean War from 1950-1953.
The country released a statement on Saturday saying they deported Newman because he apologized, was “sincere” in his repentance, and because of his age and health condition.
At a short press conference on Saturday, Jeffrey Newman reminded media of another U.S. citizen held as prisoner in North Korea.
“We … ask that you not forget another American, Kenneth Bae, who is still being held in [North Korea], and we hope that he too will be allowed to join his family soon,” Newman said.