07/25/2009, 00.00
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Pyongyang: Christian executed in public for distributing Bibles

South Korean human rights activists say the woman was executed because she distributed copies of the Bible and was a spy of Seoul and Washington. Her parents, husband and children are locked up in a camp for political prisoners. The North Korean regime declares "war on religion”.

Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The North Korean regime has publicly executed a Christian woman, accused of "distributing copies of the Bible" and "espionage activities" for the United States and South Korea The episode was made public by a group activists from the Commission investigating crimes against humanity, in a report published yesterday.

Ri Hyon-ok, 33 years, was executed June 16 last in Ryongchon, a north-western city near the border with China. The following day, Ri’s parents, her husband and three children were confined to a camp for political prisoners in the north-eastern town of Hoeryong.

The report shows a photograph from the woman’s identity card issued by the Government of North Korea, proof of her execution.  Activists demand that Kim Jong-il be tried for crimes against humanity and confirm a growth among "underground" Christian faithful in the country. This is why Pyongyang - which in theory allows the practice of religion - has launched a "war against religion" with arrests, public executions and other deterrents.

In recent days, an independent South Korean committee released a document on human rights in North Korea: it says that, although decreasing in number, death sentences are still used for a variety of offences ranging from murder to distribution of foreign films.
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