Most bizarre execution in North Korea reserved for disgraced minister
Kim Chol was executed by mortar round.
In North Korea, it is dangerous even to be a member of the ruling elite. Perhaps even more so - the closer to Caesar, the greater the fear. Hence, it is unsurprising when one of the country's top generals is executed by the regime. But it's not the fact of execution itself that is raising eyebrows, but rather the reason, and the method.
Capital punishment, North Korean style.
Apparently, the minister made the mistake of having a drink during the period of mourning following the death of Kim Jong Il. During that period of mourning, pleasure and joy of any sort was strictly forbidden. Thousands of people were arrested and punished for various infractions such as not looking sufficiently distraught while appearing in public.
Several generals and top members of the military have been arrested and many executed for infractions during this period. Analysts speculate the arrests have been a pretext to purge the army of any officials that the new dictator, Kim Jong Un, did not trust.
Chol, for his part, was accused of enjoying a drink during the period of mourning, and for that he was sentenced to die in such a manner that his body should be completely obliterated, without any trace remaining, not even hair. The harsh edict was supposedly issued by the Kim Jong Un himself.
To accomplish this task, Chol was compelled to stand in a precise spot that had been zeroed in by a mortar team. Firing a single, large shell, the minister was properly obliterated in the blast. At least death was instant.
In addition to Chol, dozens of other military and high-ranking officials have been killed, although not as spectacularly as the doomed minister. Probably thousands of civilians have also met their fate before firing squads or from overwork and starvation in camps.
Of course, the deaths of thousands of civilians is nothing new in the oppressive country, but the mass purge of high-ranking officials is. If Kim Jong Un is hoping to consolidate his authority, he seems to be doing a fine job of it.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: North Korea, capital punishment, mortar round, death, Kim Jong Un, Kim Chol, vice-minister
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