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  • » 05/31/2014, 00.00

    KOREA

    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".

    The 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".

    The regime's 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 missionary appeared 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.

    In 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 religious materials.

     

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    See also

    24/05/2011 NORTH KOREA
    Still some Christians “alive and respected” under Kim regime
    South Korean Protestant Pastor: "In North Korea there are still about 40 thousand Christians: some tortured and committed to labour camps, but who set an example for everyone." The Catholic Church does not confirm these figures but praises the attitude of those who managed to escape, "missionary of hope for us all."

    16/02/2005 NORTH KOREA
    'Dear Leader' worship as the one religion


    05/03/2014 KOREA
    Pyongyang arrests "accomplices" of South Korean missionary: they risk being shot
    The Stalinist regime interns "tens of people" in a labor camp for political prisoners, guilty of having helped Kim Jeong- wook, a Christian missionary accused of “spying”, who illegally entered the country. Exiles from the North: "They will be shot. Or, if things go well, they will end locked up in the state camps”

    22/05/2007 NORTH KOREA
    For the first time Pyongyang opens to a Catholic delegation in the fight against TB
    For the first time ever the regime has permitted a predominantly Catholic delegation to visit the hospitals where people are cured of tuberculosis. Eight of these structures are supported by the Church, while programmes are being planned to extend this collaboration to Research Centres to stop the spread of the disease. Currently, 10% of the population has TB.

    21/09/2004 NORTH KOREA
    Pyongyang admits human rights not a priority




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