Korean Reportedly Slain for Bible Distribution

Human Rights Group Unveils Religious Persecution

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SEOUL, South Korea, JULY 27, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Human rights activists in South Korea are claiming that a Christian woman was executed in North Korea for distributing Bibles. They reported that her parents, husband and three children are being detained in a political prison.

The report of the June 16 execution of 33-year-old Ri Hyon Ok in Ryongchon is impossible to confirm, given North Korea’s tight security. The mother of three was also accused of being a spy for South Korea and the United States, and of organizing dissidents, the Associated Press reported.

The human rights group report included a copy of Ri’s photo ID.

The report also said North Korean officials tortured Seo Kum Ok, another Christian, accusing her of spying on a nuclear site to give information to South Korea or the United States.

The Associated Press said it was uncertain if Seo, 30, survived. Her husband and two children are now missing.

North Korea officially protects religious freedom. However, in practice, the Communist regime severely restricts religious practice. There are four-state sponsored churches, but native North Koreans are not allowed to attend their services.

Still, some reports estimate that as many as 30,000 North Koreans practice Christianity underground.

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