August 1, 2009
Christian woman executed in North Korea
by David Masters
A Christian woman has been publicly executed in North Korea under accusations of distributing the Bible, South Korean human rights activists have claimed.
Ri Hyon Ok, a 33-year-old mother of three, was executed last month.
Her husband, children and parents were imprisoned on 16 June, the day after her execution.
In addition to facing charges of distributing Bibles, Ri was also accused of spying for South Korea and the USA, and of organising dissidents.
Ri’s death was reported by South Korean human rights coalition the Investigative Commission on Crime Against Humanity (ICCAH).
Following Ri’s execution, the commission called for North Korean leader Kim Jong-II to be charged with crimes against humanity.
ICAAH said numbers attending North Korea’s ‘underground’ Protestant Church have increased in recent years, prompting the government to declare ‘war with religions’.
Freedom of religion is officially enshrined in North Korean law.
However, the Bible is banned, and the country has only two Protestant churches and one Catholic church, all in the capital Pyongyang.
ICCAH’s claims of Ri’s execution have not yet been independently verified, and North Korea’s official news agency has not mentioned her execution.
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