UN human rights experts call on DPR Korea to suspend scheduled execution

31 May 2006

United Nations human rights experts today called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to suspend the scheduled execution for alleged treason of a prisoner reportedly tortured and then sentenced to death without a trial.

The four experts expressed dismay at the Government’s refusal to “respond in any meaningful way” to their concerns over the scheduled execution of Son Jong Nam, noting that he was reportedly tortured by the National Security Agency and sentenced without the benefit of any of the procedural safeguards required by international human rights law.

“We are profoundly dismayed by this response and deplore the failure of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to cooperate with the special procedures established by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights,” they said.

In late April the experts called upon the Government to postpone the execution and review the conviction.

But on 5 May the Government replied by characterizing the experts’ letter as a “a product of conspiracy undertaken in pursuit of the ill-minded aim of spreading fabricated information while following the attempts of those hostile forces to defame, disintegrate and overthrow the state and social system of the DPRK on the pretext of human rights.”

The experts are: Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Leila Zerrougui, Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Manfred Nowak, Special Rapporteur on the question of torture; and Vitit Muntarbhorn, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK.

Special Rapporteurs are unpaid experts serving in an independent personal capacity who received their mandate from the now defunct UN Commission on Human Rights and will report to the newly established and enhanced Human Rights Council.


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