Sunday, 23 October 2016
Sentenced to 10 years with hard labour. Sentenced to 10 years with hard labour. © Twitter

Another US citizen behind bars in North Korea

Another US citizen has been given a long sentence in North Korea after allegedly spying and stealing state secrets. 

Kim Dong-Chul, who has Korean heritage, was sentenced to 10 years in prison with hard labour after his trial in Pyongyang. 

This comes after the trial of Otto Warmbier, a US student who has been jailed for 15 years, which took place last month. 

The latest US citizen to be jailed is a 62-year-old man who became a US citizen in 1987. He was arrested in October for possessing a USB stick containing nuclear-linked data and other military information, according to the state media. 

There were also reports of “reactionary propaganda” against North Korea by Dong-Chul, and reports of him describing the US as superior to North Korea. He supposedly “injected into local people fantasies about the superiority of the United States, in order to shake the stability of the political and social system,” China’s official Xinhua news agency reported.

A month ago the accused man was paraded in front of reporters in Pyongyang, when he admitted to stealing military secrets and pleaded for forgiveness.

This follows Otto Warmbier’s trial, which only lasted an hour, and landed him in prison with hard labour after being found guilty of stealing propaganda material. The 21-year-old was arrested in early January as he attempted to leave the country with his tour group. 

The country accused Warmbier of engaging in anti-state activities during his visit.

North Korea regularly accuses Washington and Seoul of sending spies to overthrow its government.

The US State Department has now issued a statement that “strongly recommends against all travel” to North Korea as the risk of arrest is high. 

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