Japanese

  1. Home
  2. Get Involved
  3. Urgent Action
  4. DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA: STUDENT ARRESTED IN NORTH KOREA

DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA:
STUDENT ARRESTED IN NORTH KOREA

Update info:
17 Jul 2015
Country:
DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Subject:
Joo Woo-moon, Kim Jung-wook, Kim Kuk-gi and Choe Chun-gil
Gender : M
Period:
24 Aug 2015
Distribution date:
17 Jul 2015
UA No:
158/2015

South Korean student Joo Won-moon is at risk of a long prison sentence and possibly torture and other ill-treatment after having been detained by North Korean authorities in April. No information on a trial has yet been announced.

Joo Won-moon, a 21-year-old South Korean student, was detained by North Korean authorities on 21 April. He had crossed into North Korea on foot near Dandong, China. He was most recently living in the United States and was travelling in Asia while taking a break from his studies.

Joo Woo-moon was presented by the North Korean authorities to international media for interviews in May along with three other detained South Korean men. In an interview broadcast on CNN on 4 May, Joo Woo-moon claimed that he “wanted to be arrested” upon his entry to North Korea and hoped to bring about better relations between the two Koreas. In the interview, Joo Woo-moon also said he was healthy and well-fed.

The three other men interviewed, Kim Jung-wook (age 51) and Kim Kuk-gi (age 61), who are both missionaries, and a businessman, Choe Chun-gil (age 56), have all been given life sentences. Kim Jung-wook was detained on 8 October 2013 and received his sentence on 30 May 2014. The other two received their sentences on 23 June this year, after being detained by North Korean authorities on 26 March 2015. All three men “confessed” during media interviews to “anti-state crimes” including “conspiracy of subversion” and espionage. The North Korean authorities have not released any information about the content of any trials or the evidence presented. The South Korean authorities have denied contracting these men to work as spies in North Korea.

To date, the North Korean authorities have refused to release information on where these individuals are being detained, or allow them to communicate with their families, lawyers, or the South Korean authorities.

more

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION 

In February 2014 the UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights in North Korea released its report, which documents the systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights in the country. The report documented violations of almost the entire range of human rights, some of which amounted to crimes against humanity.

Hundreds of thousands of people remain detained in political prison camps and other detention facilities, where they are subject to systematic, widespread and grave human rights violations such as extrajudicial executions and torture and other ill-treatment, including beatings, long periods of forced hard labour without rest and deprivation of food. Many of those held in political prison camps have not been convicted of any internationally recognizable crime, and may include North Koreans as well as foreign nationals.

The government continues to deny the existence of political prison camps. The North Korean authorities refuse to recognize or grant access to international human rights monitors, including the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea and Amnesty International. On-going restrictions on access for independent monitors, intergovernmental and humanitarian organizations impede efforts to assess the human rights situation in the country.

On 15 June 2015, the North Korea authorities released two South Korean tourists that it claimed illegally entered its territory the previous month. While the motivations behind the release are not clear, some South Korean officials interpreted the move as a seemingly conciliatory gesture, since the date of the release marked the anniversary of the inter-Korean summit of 2000. North Korea has also recently indicated its openness to peace talks with the South, and will receive Lee Hee-ho (wife of late former President Kim Dae-jung) on 5 August for a four-day visit.

UA: 158/15 Index: ASA 24/2075/2015 Issue Date: 13 July 2015

Take action

Please write immediately in English or your own language:

  • Calling on the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Joo Woo-moon, Kim Jung-wook, Kim Kuk-gi and Choe Chun-gil, unless they are charged with an internationally recognizable criminal offense and tried in proceedings which meet international fair trial standards, without recourse to the death penalty;
  • Calling on them to ensure that pending their release, Joo Woo-moon, Kim Jung-wook, Kim Kuk-gi and Choe Chun-gil have regular, unrestricted access to their lawyers, families, and South Korean authorities, have access to any medical treatment they may require, and are protected from torture and other ill-treatment.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 24 AUGUST 2015 TO KIM JONG-UN, SUPREME COMMANDER OF THE KOREAN PEOPLE’S ARMY, CARE OF:
Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the Office of the United Nations in New York
Mr Ja Song-nam
820 Second Ave, 13th Floor
New York, NY 10017, USA
Fax: +1 212 972 3154
Email: dpr.korea@verizon.net
Salutation: Dear Ambassador 

Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the Office of the United Nations in Geneva
Mr So Se-pyong
Chemin de Plonjon 1
1207 Geneva, Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 786 0662
Email: mission.korea-dpr@ties.itu.int
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Minister of People’s Security
Choe Bu-il
Ministry of People’s Security
Pyongyang
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Twitter: @uriminzok (North Korean official twitter account)
Salutation: Dear Minister

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.