Seoul (AsiaNews) - The North Korean regime sentenced to death and immediately executed Hyon Yong-chol, the powerful head of the Armed Forces, accused of "disobeying" the young dictator Kim Jong-un, and of having fallen asleep during an event with the leader.
The execution reportedly took place in a military shooting range: the man was killed with anti-aircraft fire, according to a spokesman for the South Korean intelligence services, who relayed the news during a hearing in the Seoul Parliament.
Hyon, 66, as defence minister, was as close to Kim Jong-un as it is possible to get. His execution, the latest in a series of high levelpurges, was carried out in front of hundreds of spectators. Guilty of having presented a series of protests and not having carried out orders on several occasions, Hyon was arrested in mid-April 2015, and executed three days later without trial.
Also according to the Seoul Intelligence Services, in April, Kim ordered the execution of 15 other high-ranking officials of the Workers' Party, deemed "unruly and ready to challenge his authority."
In all, since the takeover of Jong-un in 2012, about 70 state and party leaders have been killed in a violent (and public) manner to assert the power of the dictator. The highest ranking figure to fall victim was Jang Song-taek, uncle and "political godfather" of Kim Jong-un, who was killed in December 2013 on charges of being "the worst traitor of all time."
However, the case to Jang shows that it is impossible to verify the claims of the South Korean intelligence about what is happening in the North. Seoul officials claimed the man had been torn to pieces by the young dictator’s dogs to "teach a lesson" to future possible traitors. This version was then denied by a UN investigation, which confirmed the death by firing squad.