An extensive U.N. report released on Monday has detailed some of the "unspeakable atrocities" being committed in North Korea, including mass starvation and extermination, while leader Kim Jong Un spends money lavishly on private movie theaters and luxury cars.
"The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world," said the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the DPRK in the report.
Close to 400 pages of linked reports, supporting documents and first-hand testimonies from victims and witnesses have revealed the extent of the crimes being committed in the Pacific nation, which include "extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation." more >>
The North Korean ambassador to the U.K. said in an interview that imprisoned Christian missionary Kenneth Bae should serve the full 15 years of his prison sentence, and argued that North Korea has no labor camps but "education places" instead.
Ambassador Hyun Hak-bong sat down on Thursday for a rare English-language interview with Sky News, and was asked a series of questions about the North's relationship with South Korea, Japan, the U.S. and the western world. When asked about the fate of Bae, who was arrested in 2012 while leading a tour from China to North Korea and accused of making plots against the government, Hyun said that he was not sure if the U.S. citizen will be pardoned or not, but said that he should serve the full 15 years of his sentence.
"He's now receiving fair treatment, though he spent 15 months in Pyongyang, when sick he has received medical treatment. He will be released when he finishes his sentence," the diplomat said. more >>
A Chinese Christian immigrant may have another opportunity at U.S. citizenship after failing an immigration judge's "bible quiz."
Chang Qiang Zhu, a Chinese Christian who previously sought asylum in the U.S. from the religious persecution he suffered in China, has been given another chance to plead his asylum case by a U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.
In 2009, Chang asked immigration judge Barbara Nelson for U.S. asylum, claiming that he had been beaten and imprisoned in the Asian country for months after attending a church that wasn't sanctioned by the Chinese government. Chang told Nelson that while he was in prison, he told Chinese authorities the story of Apostle Paul from the bible. more >>
U.S. pastor Saeed Abedini has been transferred from the murderer ward to the political prisoner ward in Rajai Shahr Prison in Iran, but his health problems are continuing to worsen and he needs surgery.
"Make no mistake. Pastor Saeed is still in the deadliest prison in Iran facing deteriorating medical conditions. This is the first positive step, however slight, since his transfer from Evin Prison last November," the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Abedini's wife, Naghmeh and their two children in the U.S., revealed on Wednesday.
This was also the first time Abedini's Iranian family has been allowed to visit him in six weeks. And although he will now receive slightly better treatment, including better meals, his family has said that his numerous medical problems continue to worsen, and he is still throwing up and suffering from pain in his abdomen. more >>
Reacting to imprisoned Christian missionary Kenneth Bae's recent press conference in North Korea where he seemingly admitted guilt to a serious crime, Bae's sister expressed pain and asked for mercy for his release. She also urged President Barack Obama to do all he can to secure his return back home in America.
"To the leaders of DPRK, we understand that Kenneth has been convicted of crimes under DPRK laws. Our family sincerely apologizes on Kenneth's behalf. Kenneth has also acknowledged his crimes and has apologized," Terri Chung wrote in a message posted on Tuesday on FreeKenNow.com.
"He has now served 15 months of his sentence, but faces chronic health problems. We humbly ask for your mercy to release my brother," she added. more >>
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni has refused to sign a controversial parliament-approved bill that would make "aggravated homosexuality," including repeated gay acts, punishable by life imprisonment, insisting that homosexuality is an "abnormality" from which people can be "rescued."
"The question at the core of the debate of homosexuality is, what do we do with an abnormal person? Do we kill him/her? Do we imprison him/her? Or we do contain him/her?" Museveni wrote in a letter to the parliament, according to Daily Monitor.
The president suggested that lesbians choose female partners because of "sexual starvation" that comes from failing to marry a man, and proposed that a better economy can stop people from becoming gay. more >>