North Korea: Report claims to reveal extent of public executions by secretive regime

Nearly 1,400 people were put to death in front of spectators between 2000 and 2013, according to figures from a Seoul-based monitoring group

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North Korea publically executed nearly 1,400 people between 2000 and 2013, according to a report by a monitoring group.

In the years since Kim Jong-Un took power following his father's death, 21 people were executed in 2012 and 82 people were executed in 2013.

Public executions peaked under his father Kim Jong-Il at 161 people in 2008, according to the report.

The North Korean regime is thought to use public executions to keep its population in line.

Recent reports say Kim Jon-Un had a terrapin farmer put to death after a tour of the Taedonggang Terrapin Farm in May when he discovered problems with the farm.

The research into Pyonyang's public execution programme comes from the Korean Institute for National Unification (KINU), a South Korean government-backed organisation that bases its findings on interviews with North Korean defectors.

KINU's report says that an estimated total of 1,382 people have been publically executed in North Korea since 2000.

The number could not be independently verified.

The figures suggest that North Korean media reports only a fraction of the executions that take place there.

Kim Jong-un is believed to have had executed at least 15 senior officials this year, but official North Korean media has been silent on these.

He also reportedly had his defence chief Hyon Yong Chol executed using an anti-aircraft gun. Reports from South Korean media said Hyon's death was watched by hundreds of people.