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'Deserter' surrenders at U.S. base

From CNN Correspondent Atika Shubert

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U.S. Army Sgt. Charles Robert Jenkins reports for duty.
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TOKYO, Japan (CNN) -- U.S. Army Sgt. Charles Robert Jenkins -- accused of defecting to North Korea 39 years ago -- is back on active duty Saturday after voluntarily turning himself at a military base in Japan.

The U.S. Army has leveled six charges against Jenkins, 65, including one charge of desertion.

Jenkins saluted the provost marshal, Lt. Col. Paul Nigara, when he arrived at Camp Zama, and said, "Sir, I'm Sgt. Jenkins, and I'm reporting."

Nigara returned the salute, informed Jenkins he was under the control of the U.S. Army and would be "treated with dignity and respect at all times."

Jenkins was accompanied by his wife and two daughters.

Jenkins disappeared from his Army unit near Korea's demilitarized zone in 1965. He later appeared in North Korean propaganda films and lived in the reclusive Communist country for nearly four decades.

Accompanied by his military defense counsel Capt. James Culp, Jenkins signed paperwork that put him back on active military duty for the U.S. Army.

He also accepted an advance payment that is offered to any soldier in need of financial assistance.

Photos showed Jenkins in a standard U.S. Army green uniform, as he signed the documents.

During a brief news conference, U.S. Army officials said they informed Jenkins of the six charges he faces: one count of desertion, two counts of soliciting others to desert, one count of aiding the enemy and two counts of encouraging disloyalty.

Jenkins and his family have free rein at Camp Zama army base, but Jenkins' commanding officer canceled his pass to leave the camp grounds.

The trial is expected to take place in the coming weeks and it is not clear if Jenkins will plea bargain to reduce his punishment. He could face up to life in prison if convicted.

While living in North Korea, Jenkins married a Japanese woman, Hitomi Soga, who was one of at least 15 Japanese citizens abducted to help train North Korean spies. Together, they had two daughters.

In 2002, she returned to Japan as part of a program to improve bilateral relations between the two countries. Jenkins, fearing arrest and extradition to the United States, did not join his wife in her homeland.

But in early July, Jenkins left North Korea for medical treatment in Indonesia -- a country that has no extradition treaty with the United States -- where he was reunited with his family. They later returned to Japan where he underwent surgery.

The Japanese and America governments have been discussing how to handle Jenkins case.

Earlier this month, he announced that he would surrender to military authorities to "face the charges that have been filed against me."


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