North Korea sen­tences two South Kore­ans to life terms

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

North Kore a Tues­day sen­tenced two South Korean men to hard la­bor for life on es­pi­onage and other charges, state media reaSeoul to re­lease them.

The North’s Supreme Court handed down life sen­tences on charges of spy­ing for South Korea’s in­tel­li­gence agency, said Py­ongyang’s of­fi­cial Korean Cen­tral News Agency (KCNA).

The two, iden­ti­fied as Kim Kukgi and Choe Chun-gil, were also found guilty of try­ing to top­ple the com­mu­nist regime, it said.

The South’s Uni­fi­ca­tion Min­istry ex­pressed “strong” re­gret and said it can­not ac­cept the North’s uni­lat­eral rul­ing.

The rul­ing “runs counter to in­ter­na­tional prac­tices and the spirit of hu­man rights and hu­man­ity,” the min­istry said in a state­ment, call­ing for their im­me­di­ate re­lease and repa­tri­a­tion.

In March, Py­ongyang

an- nounced the ar­rest of Kim and Choe say­ing they had op­er­ated as “heinous ter­ror­ists” while gath­er­ing in­for­ma­tion about state and mil­i­tary se­crets as well as Py­on­ngyang’s lead­er­ship.

Choe was ar­rested last De­cem­ber by bor­der guards, but it was not clear when Kim was de­tained.

At the time, Kim was ac­cused of spread­ing “re­li­gious pro­pa­ganda” from an un­der­ground church he al­legedly ran in the Chi­nese bor­der city of Dan­dong.

Choe was ac­cused of re­cruit­ing North Kore­ans to gather soil sam­ples from around the North’s main Yong­byon nu­clear com­plex.

The two were among four South Kore­ans — two of whom were mis­sion­ar­ies, ac­cord­ing to South Korean church of­fi­cials — who were de­tained af­ter il­le­gally en­ter­ing North Korea.

The North has re­jected South Korea’s re­peated calls to free the four.

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