Published: Thu, July 04, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Perth student released from North Korea

Perth student released from North Korea

Scott Morrison, Australia's Prime Minister, confirmed that Alek had been released from detention and was safe in China.

Swedish special envoy Kent Harstedt had travelled to Pyongyang where he raised the issue with North Korean authorities.

Australian student Alek Sigley, who was feared to be detained in North Korea after not being in digital contact with friends and family since June 25.

Mr Sigley, a masters student living in Pyongyang, was allegedly arrested while attending Kim II University.

"We were advised that the DPRK have released him from detention and he has safely left the country", Morrison said, referring to the North by the initials of its official name.

"On behalf of the Australian government, I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the Swedish authorities for their invaluable assistance in securing Alek's prompt release".

Alek Sigley and his wife Yuka.

"This outcome demonstrates the value of discrete, behind-the-scenes work to resolving complex and sensitive consular cases in partnership with other governments".

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An Australian government source familiar with the situation said Sigley was due to travel to Tokyo from Beijing.

"We couldn't be more pleased that we not only know where Alek is, but that he is safe".

It is not known why Mr Sigley, a fluent Korean speaker, had been detained.

Mr Sigley's father has been advised of his release.

"The family has asked that we convey their thanks to everyone who has expressed support to them for the last few days".

Sigley ran a number of social media sites, which usually had a stream of apolitical content about everyday life in one of the world's most secretive nations.

Australia and North Korea maintain diplomatic relations but do not have embassies in their respective territories, leading to Sweden's involvement in the case.

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