North Korea sentences Korean American to 10 years hard labor

By REUTERS
April 29, 2016 10:48
1 minute read.

 
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SEOUL- North Korea's Supreme Court on Friday sentenced a Korean American man to 10 years of hard labor for subversion, North Korean media reported, in the latest conviction of a foreigner for crimes against the isolated state.

Kim Dong Chul, 62, was arrested in North Korea in October and had admitted to committing "unpardonable espionage" including stealing military secrets, the North's official KCNA news agency reported earlier.

"The accused confessed to all crimes he had committed ... and gathered and offered information on its party, state and military affairs to the south Korean puppet regime, which are tantamount to state subversive plots and espionage," it said.

State prosecutors sought a 15-year sentence. His defense attorney requested leniency considering his old age, KCNA said.

Kim was shown in photographs handcuffed and wearing a tie and blue jacket. He looked distressed and was flanked by uniformed guards.

North Korea, which has been criticized over its human rights record for years, has used detained Americans in the past to extract high-profile visits from the United States, with which it has no formal diplomatic relations.

It has previously handed down lengthy hard labor sentences to foreigners, though eventually freeing them before they served their full terms.

Six foreigners, including Kim and three South Koreans, are known to be detained in the North.

Kim, who has said he is a naturalized American citizen, had confessed to committing espionage under the direction of the US and South Korean governments and apologized for his crimes, according to the North's KCNA news agency in March.

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