Authorities Carry Out Death Sentences in Several Cities Around the Country
By Junno Arocho Esteves
VATICAN CITY, November 12, 2013 (Zenit.org) – A South Korean news agency has reported that an estimated 80 people were executed in seven cities in North Korea, some of whom were executed for possessing Bibles.
According to the Korea Joongang Daily, the first large scale execution under Kim Jong-un’s regime took place on Sunday, November 3rd. Roughly 10 people were executed in each city, which included the cities of Wonsan, Chongjin, Sariwon, and Pyongsong.
Authorities in Wonsan allegedly gathered 10,000 people, including children, in a nearby stadium and forced them to watch the executions.
“I heard from the residents that they watched in terror as the corpses were riddled by machine-gun fire that they were hard to identify afterwards,” a source told the Korean news agency. Those killed in Wonsan were reportedly executed for possessing Bibles and videos from neighboring South Korea.
The United Nations established in March a “Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” to investigate the numerous human rights violations that have been committed in the North.
In an interview with Vatican Radio, Rosella Ideo, an expert in Asian diplomatic and political history, stated that reports like the recent executions, have often been stated by North Korean refugees who fled to the South. Ideo also told Vatican Radio that the UN Commission is greatly concerned after listening to testimony from North Korean refugees regarding prison camps.
The UN Commission, she said, “has asked North Korea to go and verify in person the existence of these gulags, which have been spoken of for many years and have been spotted by satellites but they have not received any permission to go and reveal these violations.”
“It is evident that these camps exists, because now there is a number of corroborating witnesses that is impossible to deny, but they would need North Korea to open its doors. I’m afraid that when the doors to these gulags are open, whose existence is already proven, it will also open Pandora’s box.”