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March 6 2008 | SOUTH KOREA

North Kirea

Fifteen people crossing the border for hunger executed

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Korea executes 15 people trying to flee or help others escape

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ North Korea publicly executed 15 people who attempted to flee the country or helped others escape, a warning aimed at stemming the growing flow of refugees to China, an aid group said Wednesday.
The two men and 13 women were executed Feb. 20 by firing squad on a bridge in Onseong, a northeastern town on the border with China and Russia, the Good Friends private aid organization said in its regular newsletter.
They were accused of crossing the Tumen River into neighboring China or helping others to cross, the aid agency said.
A growing number of North Koreans cross into China in search of food and to avoid political oppression. Activists claim tens of thousands of North Koreans live in hiding in China, where they face forced repatriation to their impoverished homeland if caught.
Others try to make it to South Korea. Since the 1950-53 Korean War, 12,250 North Koreans have fled to the South, according to South Korea's Unification Ministry.
The North carried out the recent executions as a warning against illegal border crossings to China, Good Friends said, citing an unnamed North Korean official.
The execution «has further stirred the public (unrest) ... and made people upset at a time when all people were worried as there were nothing to eat,» the group quoted an unnamed woman in the town as saying.
The aid agency declined to say how it obtained the information, citing its sensitivity. Some of the group's previous reports regarding the North have later been confirmed.


Quinze Nord-Coréens accusés d'être passés en Chine exécutés

SEOUL, 5 mars 2008 - Les autorités nord-coréennes ont  exécuté treize femmes et deux hommes accusés d'être illégalement  passés en Chine pour chercher des vivres, a affirmé mercredi une  association humanitaire sud-coréenne.
Selon l'association Good Friends basée à Séoul, ces exécutions  publiques ont eu lieu le 20 février dans le district de Juwongu dans  la ville de Onseong (nord-est).
Le ministère sud-coréen de l'Unification n'était pas en mesure  de confirmer cette information.
Selon l'association citant un responsable local non identifié,  les exécutions étaient destinées à dissuader les passages de plus en  plus nombreux de l'autre côté de la frontière.
"Disparaître et traverser illégalement la frontière pour visiter  des parents en Chine est devenu une habitude pour certains. Nous les  avons abattus pour pour faire passer un message", a-t-il dit.
Des milliers de Nord-Coréens fuyant les pénuries alimentaires  chroniques et la répression dans leur pays tentent de passer en  Chine voisine mais sont généralement renvoyés chez eux.
Pékin leur dénie en effet le statut de réfugiés politiques,  estimant qu'ils viennent chercher en Chine "des avantages  économiques". Le renvoi en Corée du Nord après une défection entraîne souvent l'internement dans un camp de travail, des tortures ou une exécution sommaire, estiment les associations internationales de défense des droits de l'Homme.
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