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Uncle of North Korean leader executed for trying to “seize supreme power”

Published: Friday December 13, 2013 | 1:17 pm Comments 0
People watch a live TV news program showing that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un\'s uncle Jang Song Thaek (second from right) is escorted by military officers during a trial in Pyongyang, North Korea. – AP
People watch a live TV news program showing that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's uncle Jang Song Thaek (second from right) is escorted by military officers during a trial in Pyongyang, North Korea. – AP

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP):
The once-powerful uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been executed after being booted from office for corruption.

North Korea said today that it executed Jang Song Thaek as a traitor for trying to seize supreme power.

In a sharp reversal of the popular image of Thaek as a kindly uncle guiding young leader Kim Jong Un as he consolidated power, the North's official Korean Central News Agency indicated that Jang instead saw the death of Kim's father, Kim Jong Il, in December 2011 as an opportunity to challenge his nephew and win power.

Just days ago, North Korea accused Jang, 67, of corruption, womanising, gambling and taking drugs, and said he'd been "eliminated" from all his posts.

However, Friday's allegations, which couldn't be independently confirmed, were linked to a claim that he tried "to overthrow the state by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods with a wild ambition to grab the supreme power of our party and state."

Pyongyang's statement called him a "traitor to the nation for all ages," "worse than a dog" and "despicable human scum" who planned a military coup – rhetoric often reserved in state propaganda for South Korean leaders.

State media said Jang was tried for treason by a special military tribunal and executed Thursday.

In the North Korean capital, people crowded around billboards in a subway station displaying the morning paper and news of the execution. North Korea's main newspaper Rodong Sinmun ran a headline on its website that said: "Eternal traitor firmly punished."

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