North Korea carries out public executions on river banks and at school grounds and marketplaces for charges such as stealing copper from factory machines, distributing media from South Korea and prostitution, according to a new report. Grace Lee reports.
Shocking new evidence of public executions for petty theft in North Korea. A new report showing locations like school grounds, marketplaces, and riverbanks were all often used for grisly public displays. The charges: anything from prostitution or stealing rice and corn from farms to distributing media from South Korea. Ending in a public shooting or, according to one North Korean defector, with being beaten to death because "some crimes were considered not worth wasting bullets on." "They are a powerful tool of control by the creation of fear. And I think the fact that the victims' families, co-workers, and even children from local schools are sometimes summoned to watch these events is indicative of the fact that this is a means of deterrence, a means of inciting fear, and establishing at least outward unwavering loyalty to the regime, and essentially its leaders," said Sarah Son, research director of Transitional Justice Working Group. The South Korean NGO behind the report says it aims to document the locations of public killings and mass burials to support an international push to hold North Korea accountable for what it calls crimes against humanity. Pyongyang rejects charges of rights abuses, saying its citizens enjoy protection under the constitution. Instead, it accuses United States of being the world's worst human rights violator.