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Fears that N. Korea has launched wave of public executions

Report says people are being executed for owning a Bible

Fears that N. Korea has launched wave of public executions

Picture: KNS/KCNA/AFP

North Korea’s brutal and secretive regime may have unleashed a new wave of repression, executing dozens of people in public spectacles in seven cities last week, according to a report in a major South Korean newspaper Tuesday. 

The report in JoongAng Ilbo was sourced to a single, unidentified person described as someone “familiar with internal affairs in the North who recently visited the country,” and, as with most events concerning North Korea, was impossible to independently confirm. But a group of North Korean defectors living in South Korea partially confirmed the account, giving it more credence.

If true, the crackdown would be one of the most severe such event to have taken place in the two years since Kim Jong-un became leader. The public nature of last week’s acts may signal Pyongyang’s growing resolve to tamp any sentiments to Western and South Korean culture enabled by technological change and North Korea’s own economic initiatives.

JoongAng Ilbo said that many of the alleged executions were intended to demonstrate on a massive scale the punishment for watching unsanctioned foreign films and distributing pornography, the two most common transgressions.

In its online English-language version, the newspaper included a gruesome description of the events in Wonsan, a port city on the east coast:

In Wonsan, eight people were tied to a stakes at a local stadium, had their heads covered with white sacks and were shot with a machine gun, according to the source. 

According to witnesses of the execution, the source said, Wonsan authorities gathered 10,000 people, including children, at Shinpoong Stadium, which has a capacity of 30,000 people, and forced them to watch.

The Wonsan victims were mostly charged with watching or illegally trafficking South Korean videos, being involved in prostitution or being in possession of a Bible.  

Full Story: Public executions in North Korea? Report raises fear of new repression 

Source: Christian Science Monitor

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