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American detainees in North Korea speak

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Jeffrey Fowle, Matthew Miller and Kenneth Bae are currently being detained in North Korea. (Source: CNN) Jeffrey Fowle, Matthew Miller and Kenneth Bae are currently being detained in North Korea. (Source: CNN)
A CNN crew thought they were going to meed with a high-ranking North Korean official, but was granted an interviews with the American detainees. (Source: CNN) A CNN crew thought they were going to meed with a high-ranking North Korean official, but was granted an interviews with the American detainees. (Source: CNN)

(CNN) – In a surprising and exclusive interview with CNN, the three Americans currently detained in North Korea spoke about their conditions.

A CNN crew who thought they were going to meet with a high-ranking North Korean government official, was greeted with something even rarer.

Correspondent Will Ripley was allowed to speak with three Americans held in North Korea. Detainees Jeffrey Fowle, Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller all say they signed statements admitting guilt, but are in urgent need of help from the United States.

Fowle, an American tourist detained in June, is accused of leaving a Bible in a hotel where he was staying.

“I'm good for the time being but I need to let people know I'm getting desperate,” Fowle said. “I'm getting desperate for help.

“My situation is very urgent,” Miller said. “That very soon I'm going to trial and I will directly be sent to prison. I think this interview is my final chance to push the American government into helping me.

Miller won't learn of his charges until he goes to trial.

Kenneth Bae, meanwhile, was detained in late 2012. He's been in custody the longest. The U.S. missionary, now serving a 15-year sentence in a labor camp. The North Korean government maintains he was part of a plot to overthrow its regime.

“I've lost already 15 pounds or more and it's been very difficult to stay in the camp right now so I do ask the US government and the people out there to really put an effort to send somebody,” Bae said.

The unplanned, unexpected, five-minute interviews each painted a picture of uncertainty in a country few outsiders see.

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