North Korea: Hundreds of public execution sites identified, says report

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Defectors and rights groups say execution is used to instil public fear in North Korea

A South Korean NGO says it has identified 318 sites in North Korea that were used by the government to carry out public executions.

The Transitional Justice Working Group interviewed 610 North Korean defectors over four years for its report.

It documented decades of killings, for offences ranging from stealing a cow to watching South Korean TV.

Public executions took place near rivers, fields, markets, schools, and sports grounds, the rights group said.

Crowds of 1,000 or more would gather to watch these executions, the NGO said in its report, “Mapping the fate of the dead”, released on Tuesday.

The report alleges that family members of those sentenced to death, including children, were sometimes forced to watch the event. The bodies and burial locations of those killed were rarely given to their relatives.

The youngest person to witness a public killing was seven years old, according to testimony.

Some public executions also take place inside detention facilities such as prisons and labour camps – where people convicted of political crimes are forced into physical work such as mining and…

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