Wed 10 January 2024:
North Korea carried out public executions of people who had violated COVID-19 regulations in previous years, a South Korean state-run think tank claimed in its latest report.
A white paper on human rights issued by the Korea Institute for National Unification, citing a North Korean defector who arrived in Seoul last year, revealed the public execution.
However, the think tank did not share any further details about the alleged public execution out of fear of retaliation against the defector’s family members, Seoul-based Yonhap News reported on Wednesday.
North Korea reported its first COVID-19 case in July 2020, and in August 2022, Pyongyang declared victory over the infection and lifted all restrictions across the country.
The country had never shared details with the outside world, but state-run media reported that 4.7 million people had recovered from the coronavirus, with a fatality rate of 0.0016%.
The white paper also accused North Korea of blocking access to outside information and moving to strengthen its grip on residents by increasing the number of crimes punishable by death through enacting special laws on antivirus measures and drug crimes, according to the report.
So far, there has been no response or reaction from North Korea to the South Korean think tank report.
In 2020, North Korea also adopted a law restricting people from watching or distributing content related to or from South Korea, the U.S., and other countries’ media, according to the agency.
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