Sunday, April 11, 2021

US condemns North Korea to compensate tortured military personnel in 1968

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North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un

The Justice of the United States (USA) ordered Pyongyang to pay US $ 2.3 billion (about two billion euros) to the crew of a US Navy ship, who were captured and tortured in 1968.

According to the agency France-Press, cited by the agency Lusa, North Korea was ordered to pay this amount to USS Pueblo ‘spy ship’ crew members and families, in compensation for the physical and psychological abuse they suffered at the hands of the captors.

A federal body granted 49 survivors compensation ranging from 22 million (approximately 18 million euros) to 48 million dollars (around 39 million euros). Smaller amounts were also granted to around 100 family members.

“Due to the barbarity inflicted by the North Koreans, almost all [os tripulantes do navio] they needed medical and / or psychiatric care (…). Many have tried to relieve pain through alcohol or drugs, and many have seen family and / or professional life deteriorate, ”said Alan Balaran, the state-appointed attorney for the case.

The 83 crew of the USS Pueblo were captured by Pyongyang on January 23, 1968. According to North Korea, the ship was in North Korean waters without authorization. Washington denied the charge.

In exchange for the release of the hostages, which took place in December of the same year, the USA will have expressed through a document the “solemn” apologies for the “serious acts of sabotage”, a text that Washington has publicly denied.

Compensation claims in the U.S. only started in 2018, however, after the White House – during Donald Trump’s term – declared North Korea as a state that supports terrorism.

North Korea maintained the USS Pueblo and turned it into a museum, but the U.S. Navy still considers the vessel to be active.

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