Tags: North Korea | American | prisoners | detainees | arrest

NKorea: We Have Right to 'Ruthlessly Punish' American Detainees

Image: NKorea: We Have Right to 'Ruthlessly Punish' American Detainees
American student Otto Warmbier speaks at a news conference Feb. 29, 2016, in Pyongyang, North Korea. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)

Thursday, 11 May 2017 07:23 PM

North Korea declared Thursday it had the "sovereign right" to "ruthlessly punish" Americans who have been detained for alleged crimes against the government — dismissing descriptions of the arrests as a bargaining ploy as "pure ignorance."

The North's KCNA news agency said the crimes will soon be revealed.

A total of four Americans are now being held in the country.

"Recent Americans detained are being interrogated by relevant legal authorities for criminal acts against the Republic," the news agency said, the New York Post reported.

"It is an exercise of the legitimate right of a sovereign state to deal with the criminals according to its law. [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] will detect and frustrate every anti-DPRK plot of the dishonest hostile elements and ruthlessly punish the criminals and thus reliably defend its state and social system."

Americans in custody are:

  • Kim Hak Song, a Korean-American who taught at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, was arrested last Saturday for "hostile acts."
  • Kim Sang Duk, also known as Tony Kim — and a professor at the same university — was reportedly taken into custody two weeks earlier and accused of attempting to overthrow the government.
  • Kim Dong Chul, a naturalized U.S. citizen from South Korea and missionary, was convicted in April 2016 of being a spy and sentenced to 10 years of hard labor.
  • Otto Warmbier, a U.S. college student, was taken into custody earlier in 2016 for stealing a propaganda poster and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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North Korea declared Thursday it had the "sovereign right" to "ruthlessly punish" Americans who have been detained for alleged crimes against the government – dismissing descriptions of the arrests as a bargaining ploy as "pure ignorance."
American, prisoners, detainees, arrest
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2017-23-11
 

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