Canberra, Australia — An Australian student released after a week in detention in North Korea described his condition to reporters in Beijing on Thursday as “very good,” without saying what happened.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced to Parliament that Alek Sigley, 29, had been released hours earlier following intervention from Swedish diplomats on Wednesday, and had been taken to the Australian Embassy in Beijing. He later left Beijing for Japan.Sigley looked relaxed and gave a peace sign when he arrived at Beijing airport. He did not respond to reporters’ questions about what had happened in Pyongyang.
“I’m OK, I’m OK, I’m good. I’m very good,” Sigley said. Asked how he was feeling, Sigley replied: “Great.”His father, Gary Sigley, a professor of Asian studies at University of Western Australia, said his son would soon be reunited with his Japanese wife, Yuka Morinaga, in Tokyo.”He’s fine. He’s in very good spirits. He’s been treated well,” the father told reporters in his hometown of Perth.Sigley’s friend and fellow student of North Korea, University of Technology Sydney academic Bronwyn Dalton, said she had recently spoken to Sigley’s wife, who was thrilled by the news.”We were jumping up and down and we love Sweden,” Dalton said.”He’s a fine, young, emerging Asian scholar, he is very applied to his studies. I really doubted whether he did actually anything wrong by the regime,” Dalton added.Swedish diplomats had raised concerns about Sigley with North Korean authorities in Pyongyang, where Australia does not have an embassy.