07/14/2007, 00.00
USA-NORTH KOREA
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Christian condemned to death, US politicians write to the UN

The younger brother of Son Jong-nam, ex officer of the Pyongyang army converted to Christianity, is due to be executed in public, has appealed to the US and UN to help save him.

Washington (AsiaNews) – A group made up of US senators, democrats and republican, have written to the United Nations Secretary General and to the US State Department to ask them to save the life of a North Korean Christian who is about to be put to death in public.

The campaign to save Son Jong-nam was launched by Voice of the Martyrs – a group which aids persecuted Christians worldwide – a by the condemned man’s younger brother, who has travelled to Washington to ask for their help.

Son first defected to China in 1998 and became a Christian after meeting a South Korean missionary. He was arrested in 2001 and sent back to the North. He was imprisoned for three years but released on parole in 2004. He fled again and after meeting with his brother, who now lives in South Korea, he was again repatriated and condemned to death.  

The execution, confirmed by the authorities in the North, will take place in public: this form is often used by the Stalinist regime lead by Kim Jong-il, in attempts to “persuade” the population from “breaking the law”.

In the letter, the senators explain to the UN and US government “Future engagement with North Korea will be more challenging if its leaders continue to persecute people for their religion. The United States has made political and religious freedom important elements in its diplomatic relations and we are gravely concerned about abuses of such rights in North Korea”.

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