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N.Korea announces amnesty for convicts to mark late leaders’ birth anniversaries

Seoul, Jan 20 (IANS) North Korea has decided to grant convicted people amnesty, effective later this month, on the occasion of major birth anniversary celebrations of its late leaders, Pyongyang’s state media said on Thursday.

The pardons will be granted to those who were convicted of “crimes against the country and people” to commemorate the 110th and 80th birth anniversaries of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, respectively, in a decision made by the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

The amnesty will take effect January 30, adding the cabinet and relevant organs will take” practical measures” to help them settle into normal working lives, Yonhap News Agency quoted the KCNA as further saying.

The birth anniversary of Kim Jong-il, late father of current leader Kim Jong-un, falls on February 16 and that of his late grandfather Kim Il-sung on April 15, both of which are major celebrations.

The amnesty appears to be part of efforts to promote social unity amid economic hardships, with prolonged border controls in place to stave off the Covid-19 pandemic and to boost loyalty for the leader, who’s been in power for a decade.

The North announced its previous amnesty in August 2020 ahead of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party.



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