North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un has reportedly ordered 33 Christians to be executed for contact with a missionary.
The Christians were believed to be working alongside South Korean missionary Kim Jung-wook, who was arrested last year. He and his ministry workers in North Korea have reportedly started 500 or so underground churches, the Washington Times reports.
The Daily Mail reports that Kim Jong-un has charged the 33 with attempting to overthrow the government—the same accusation that lead to the execution of the North Korean leader’s uncle, Jang Song-thaek, and all Mr. Jang’s relatives.
The missionary aides will be put to death in the cell of the State Security Department.
According to the Christian Post, North Korea aired interviews with five of their countrymen at a press conference on Feb. 27 who claimed they met with Jung-wook and accepted money from him and other South Korean agents.
North Korea is known for forcing prisoners to issue statements confessing to crimes, and some have challenged these interviews as an attempt to find out locations of underground churches.
North Korea is widely known for its human rights abuses and zero tolerance for religion. For the 12th consecutive year, World Watch List has ranked it as the number one country for Christian persecution.
Publication Date: March 10, 2014.