N. Korea to Free Prisoners for Kim Jong Il's Birthday
Likely another move to shore up support for Kim Jong Un
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jan 10, 2012 9:20 AM CST
This television screen grab taken from North Korean TV on January 3, 2012 shows thousands of North Koreans as they hold a mass rally in support for their country's policies and new leader Kim Jong-Un...   (Getty Images/AFP Photo/North Korean TV)

(Newser) – North Korea has announced a round of special pardons for some of its prisoners in honor of what would have been Kim Jong Il's 70th birthday next month, in what the Telegraph sees as an attempt to boost the popularity of Dear Leader's heir, Kim Jong Un. The announcement, made by the state-run Korean Central News Agency, didn't specify how many prisoners would be freed, or what sorts of crimes might be forgiven.

North Korea has a history of celebrating major holidays with pardons, but hasn't done so in six years. The UN envoy on human rights alleges that it has as many as 200,000 political prisoners in detention camps, though Pyongyang denies that such camps even exist. "Public sentiments aren't very good, so the authorities aimed to appease them," one South Korean researcher speculates.

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Showing 3 of 4 comments
Jan 12, 2012 8:19 AM CST
This was a long time coming, a lot of the militants and people in charge of those camps didn't want to see those people in there, they just couldn't do anything about it except keep their mouths shut. This finally gives them an excuse to free the ones who were unrighteously put there. NK Policy states that if a person gets in trouble, they imprison 3 generations of that person's family. fucking ridiculous.
Jan 10, 2012 1:40 PM CST
Just like during the inquisition, you do not say any thing bad about fearless leader. Did they get that from the Rocky and Bull winkle show.
Jan 10, 2012 12:47 PM CST
Probably couldn't afford to feed them, so let 'em out to forage for themselves- grass soup or whatever