North Korean media has reported that South Korean Baptist missionary Kim Jung-wook has been sentenced to hard labor for life on charges of spying and trying to set up underground churches.
The trial took place Friday (May 30) when the missionary admitted to committing anti-North Korean religious acts and “malignantly hurting the dignity” of the country’s supreme leadership, or the ruling Kim family, The Associated Press reported quoting state media.
A North Korean dispatch written Friday, but released early Saturday, said Jung-wook, who is about 50 years old, had defense counsel, but other details were not provided.
An unidentified North Korean defense attorney said the missionary “sincerely repented of his crimes and apologized for them” and urged that the court commute the death sentence demanded by prosecutors, who produced “evidence such as religious books, memory cards, sex CDs and spying devices carried by the accused for criminal purposes.”
Kim was arrested last October after he entered North Korea from China. A North Korean television program featured him in February alleging he received assistance from South Korea’s intelligence agency and that he had apologized for committing “anti-state” crimes.