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N. Korea announces amnesty for convicted people to mark late leaders' birthdays

This photo, released by the Korean Central News Agency on Dec. 7, 2021, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presiding over a meeting of the North Korean Army's educationists at the April 25 House of Culture in Pyongyang on Dec. 4 and 5. (KCNA)
This photo, released by the Korean Central News Agency on Dec. 7, 2021, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presiding over a meeting of the North Korean Army's educationists at the April 25 House of Culture in Pyongyang on Dec. 4 and 5. (KCNA)
North Korea has decided to grant convicted people amnesty, effective later this month, on the occasion of major birthday celebrations of its late leaders, according to its state media Thursday.

The pardons will be granted to those who were convicted of "crimes against the country and people" to commemorate the 110th birthday of Kim Il-sung and the 80th birthday of Kim Jong-il in a decision made by the Standing Committee of the Supreme People's Assembly, the Korean Central News Agency reported.

The amnesty will take effect Jan. 30, adding the cabinet and relevant organs will take" practical measures" to help them settle into normal working lives, it added.

The birthday of. Kim Jong-il, late father of current leader Kim Jong-un, falls on Feb. 16 and that of his late grandfather Kim Il-sung on April 15, both of which are major celebrations in the hermit country.

The amnesty appears to be part of efforts to promote social unity amid economic hardships, with prolonged border controls in place to stave off the COVID-19 pandemic and to boost loyalty for the leader, who's been in power for a decade.

The North announced its previous amnesty in August 2020 ahead of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Workers' Party. (Yonhap)
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