NORTH KOREA: HARSH PUNISHMENTS FOR NON-VIOLENT OFFENCES ADDED TO CRIMINAL CODE
|North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un
May 21, 2014: the Daily NK revealed that the North Korean authorities had added five extra clauses to Article 60 of the country's criminal code, which pertains to attempts to overthrow the state. The additional clauses codify harsh punishments for acts including illicit communication with the outside world, which could in principle now incur the death penalty.
A source based in North Hamkyung Province told Daily NK that âa directive notifying us that the criminal code had changed was conveyed via workplaces earlier in the year. They said that five new clauses have been added to Article 60, and that punishments for each were similar or worse that they had been."
The newly re-codified offenses include: illegal phone contact with foreigners, including South Koreans; viewing South Korean dramas or DVDs and listening to [foreign] radio broadcasts; using or dealing in drugs; transnational human and sex trafficking; aiding and abetting defectors and leaking state secrets.
The nature of the revised punishments provides a stark reflection of the regimeâs anxiety at the nature and scale of cross-border activities, the source explained. A minimum of five years âre-educationâ or the death penalty can be decreed for those caught communicating with the outside world; a minimum of 10 years re-education is the punishment for simply watching South Korean media or listening to foreign radio; and a minimum of five years re-education is possible for drug smuggling.
On 9 May, a Pyongyang-based source told Daily NK that the authorities had ârecentlyâ arrested and internally exiled around 100 people from Pyongyang for viewing or possessing video content produced in South Korea. (Sources: dailynk.com, 21/05/2014)