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A combination photo of former U.S. Marine Christopher Philip Ahn allegedly shown in a still photos from a surveillance camera, standing in front of and entering the North Korea embassy in Madrid, Spain, February 22, 2019. U.S. Attorney’s Office Central District of California/Handout via REUTERS
July 9, 2019
By Alex Dobuzinskis
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A U.S. man accused of taking part in a raid of the North Korean Embassy in Madrid was ordered freed on $1.3 million bail on Tuesday but must serve home confinement ahead of his possible extradition to Spain.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Jean Rosenbluth, at a hearing in Los Angeles, warned Christian Ahn, 38, that family members or close friends who posted bail for him could lose their money or property and face contempt of court charges if he fled.
“I spent a lot of time reading about you and I’m confident you’re going to do the right thing,” Rosenbluth told Ahn.
The judge told Ahn he was to remain at home wearing an ankle monitor except for medical appointments and church.
Spanish authorities have charged Ahn with being among at least six individuals who stormed the North Korean mission on Feb. 22 in Madrid, beat some embassy personnel, held them hostage for hours and then fled. At least two of the individuals charged in Spain remain at large.
The charges Ahn faces in Spain include breaking and entering, robbery with violence, and causing injuries, according to U.S. court documents.
Ahn previously served in the U.S. Marines, but he was not in the military at the time of the incident at the embassy.
The intruders removed computers, computer drives and a mobile phone from the embassy, according to U.S. court documents.
Spanish investigators identified the embassy intruders as members of a group called Cheollima Civil Defense, or Free Joseon, that seeks the overthrow of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
U.S. agents arrested Ahn on April 18 in Los Angeles, and his attorneys have sought his release from custody since then.
Rosenbluth on July 2 ruled that Ahn was eligible for release and convened a hearing this week to set detention arrangements. Prosecutors objected to Ahn’s release, saying he is a flight risk.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Additional reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; editing by Dan Whitciomb and Leslie Adler)