Tuesday, January 10, 2012

North Korea plans prisoner release to mark dead leaders' birthdays

North Korea said Tuesday that it would release an unspecified number of prisoners in February to mark the birthdays of the two dictators who ruled the reclusive nation for a total of more than 60 years.

The amnesty of "convicts," ordered by a parliamentary decree, will begin February 1, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

KCNA said the move ties in with the centenary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, the revered founder of North Korea who ran the country between 1945 and 1994, and the 70th birthday of his son, Kim Jong Il, who succeeded him and remained in power until his death last month.

Leadership of the repressive regime has now passed to a third generation of the Kim family: Kim Jong Un, the youngest son and chosen successor of Kim Jong Il.

North Korea tends to grant amnesties to prisoners at five-year intervals after an important date, like the founding of the Korean Workers' Party, according to Park In-ho, the president of Daily NK, an internet news company that monitors developments in North Korea from Seoul. Read More