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Ex-prisoners to be sent to NK tomorrow

Posted September. 01, 2000 20:41,   


A total of 63 unconverted ex-North Korean prisoners will be repatriated to the North at 10 a.m. tomorrow via the truce village of Panmunjom.

Unification Ministry authorities said September 1 that the former North Korean spies and soldiers, who all served out long prison terms, will be delivered to the North Korean side at the conference room of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission, along with their physical exam records, following a precedent set by the return of ex-North Korean convict Lee In-Mo, 83, the North in 1993.

Explaining that their repatriation will be made in line with the June 15 Inter-Korean Summit Declaration and the accord reached at the South-North Red Cross talks, the ministry officials said that with their return, the government will do its best to resolve humanitarian issues like South Korean prisoners of war and abductees held in the North.

The North Korean convicts gathered at Bukak Hotel in Seoul on Friday to receive orientation for their entry to the North and went through custom-clearance procedures for their personal effects.

The government has issued exit permits for one year and six months to the North Koreans, who refused to abandon their Communist beliefs, under the inter-Korean exchange and cooperation law, since there is no legal provisions governing the repatriation of North Korean convicts.

The subject North Koreans are mostly those sent to the South as spies, partisans or soldiers and arrested here while they engaged in espionage activities. They served out terms ranging from 15 to 45 years, and 52 persons, or 82.5 percent of the total, are in their 70s.