North Korea has sentenced a South Korean-born American citizen to 10 years of hard labour for subversion and espionage, a North Korean official told reporters.
News agency, KCNA, gathered that prosecutors were seeking a 15-year hard labor sentence for Kim Dong Chul for committing “offenses in a scheme to overthrow the socialist sytem of the DPRK.”
Today’s verdict was handed down by North Korea’s Supreme Court.
— CNN (@CNN) April 29, 2016
Kim is the second American that North Korea has given a hard labour sentence in the past two months.
In March, University of Virginia student Otto Frederick Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of hard labour for allegedly removing a political banner from a Pyongyang hotel.
Kim said he moved to Yanji, a Chinese city near the Chinese-North Korean border that acts as a trade hub between the two countries, in 2001. From Yanji, Kim said he commuted daily to Rason, a special economic zone on the North Korean side of the border, where he served as president of a company involved in international trade and hotel services.
According to Kim, he spied on behalf of “South Korean conservative elements” on the country’s nuclear and military program.
“I was tasked with taking photos of military secrets and ‘scandalous’ scenes,” he said at the time.
“They asked me to help destroy the (North Korean) system and spread propaganda against the government.”
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Kim’s comments to the media in January were made in the presence of North Korean officials and the media cannot determine whether they were made under duress, CNN reports.
Like Kim, Warmbier also gave a confession to international media. North Korea accuses of the student of taking the banner at the urging of a church member, the CIA and a secretive university organisation.