» 05/31/2014, 00.00
Pyongyang, South Korean Baptist missionary sentenced to hard labor for life
Joseph Yun Li-sun
The missionary Kim Jeong -wook had "confessed his crimes": espionage, underground religious activities, "malignantly hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership". North Korea prohibits all worship except of the ruling dynasty. Other missionaries sentenced and jailed.
Seoul (AsiaNews) - A South Korean Baptist missionary has been sentenced by a North
Korean court to hard labor for life for espionage, underground religious
activities and offenses against the "dignity of the supreme leadership".
news was published today by North Korean press, referring to a trial that took
place yesterday in the capital against Kim Jeong- wook, who apparently "confessed his crimes".
news agency, KCNA, reports that Kim illegally
entered the North, with the intention of setting up an underground church and
gathering information about the internal affairs of Pyongyang. The
public prosecutor had demanded the death penalty , but the sentence imposed was
prison and hard labor for life.
Kim, 50, had
been working for a long time in the city
of Dandung on the border with China when he was arrested last October. Seoul's
intelligence services denied that Kim is involved in espionage , after the
on state television (in the North) confessing his "crimes".
Kim is charged
with "religious acts, malignantly hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership".
All forms of
religion are banned under the regime of Kim Jong-un, except that of worshipping
the ruling dynasty. In
the North's capital, there are three churches - two Protestant and one Catholic
- but they are believed to be a front for tourists and non-governmental
organizations . No
priests or religious are present, only officials of the associations
established by the government to control the religions.
Pyongyang, another missionary, the U.S. citizen Kenneth Bae, is serving a
sentence of 15 years hard labor for the same reasons.
A few months
ago, another missionary, the
Australian John Short, was expelled after a period in prison for distributing
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