UPDATED: Clear Evidence of Public Executions in North Korea
Friday, March 18, 2005 Posted: 12:01 PM JST
North Korea has systematically refuted claims that it performs public executions and repeatedly accused human rights organizations of making this up. On March 16 Japanese broadcaster NTV however, showed a clandestine video recording of such executions. Two people were executed for assisting others to defect from the country. The next day a man was publicly executed for "slavery". This is the first time such video footage has been shown publicly.
The following day NTV broadcast a follow-up.
The clandestine video shows a white van with loudspeakers announcing the public court proceedings. A large crowd of several thousand people assembles, among them many children. People are clearly used to public court proceedings followed by executions, several people complain they can't see anything and kids run to the place where the men were executed the moment the execution has finished.
A commanding officer gives the command to shoot three times, each time followed by three shots. After the last shot he can be heard asking "Are they dead?". The whole process, including the court proceedings, takes all of 20 minutes. The prisoners have no chance whatsoever to defend themselves. A large group of other prisoners can be seen sitting on the ground, shackled. They are forced to to observe the executions.
Such public executions have been repeatedly reported by North Koreans who fled their country, most famously in the books Eyes of the Tailless Animals: Prison Memoirs of a North Korean Woman and The Aquariums of Pyongyang : Ten Years in a North Korean Gulag. But they could never be independently confirmed. With this video they have been irrevocably confirmed.
To authenticate the recordings NTV went to the border area close to the two North Korean cities, Feryon and Yuson, where the executions were said to have taken place. The news crew was able to confirm the proceedings on the day they had reportedly taken place and were also able to shoot places, among them a bridge, a train station and large letters on a hill, that were seen in the video.
An English language article with photos about this important evidence can be found at Daily NK, an NK-focused daily online newspaper.
Keywords: national_news political_news special_report
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