Seoul releases video of North Korean sailors’ repatriation
Seoul, Jul 18 (EFE).- The South Korean government published a video Monday in which officials are seen repatriating two North Korean defectors who allegedly murdered part of the crew with which they worked.
The video, about four minutes long and published by the Unification Ministry, in charge of relations with North Korea, shows the handover by the Joint Security Area of the two fishermen who arrived by sea in November 2019.
The video shows how one of the sailors resists and has to be lifted off the ground and dragged across the Military Demarcation Line, which separates the countries’ official land borders.
The area, also known as Panmunjom village, is in the heart of the militarized inter-Korean border and has been the scene of summits between the leaders of both countries and also of a meeting between the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and former American President Donald Trump.
The case is controversial due to criticism about the speed with which the repatriation was carried out.
The two fishermen were repatriated just five days after being arrested by South Korean authorities after confessing that they allegedly murdered 16 other colleagues with whom they fished before fleeing North Korea.
Considering deserters must be investigated by South Korea’s National Intelligence Service for at least 15 days, the speed of the repatriation unleashed harsh criticism against former President Moon Jae-in’s government, which was in power when the case took place. Repatriated defectors are not guaranteed to be subject to the rule of law in North Korea.
Former intelligence director Suh Hoon is being investigated after a recent complaint by the agency itself, which said Suh allegedly accelerated the repatriation, which Pyongyang did not request, to appease North Korea at a time in which the bilateral dialogue was weakening.
Current South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has said the administration would be transparent during the investigation of a case NGO Human Rights Watch called “outrageous and inexcusable violation of human rights.”
North Korea and South Korea technically remain at war following the armed conflict between 1950 and 1953, after it ended with a ceasefire instead of a peace treaty. EFE