North Korea's defense minister Hyon Yong-chol has been executed on charges of disloyalty towards the country's dictator Kim Jong-un, according to intelligence services in South Korea.
Several hundred North Korean officials were present when the minister was executed by firing squad on April 30. Hyon was reportedly accused of treason after having fallen asleep during a military event, says He Ki-beom, deputy director of South Korea's intelligence service, during a meeting with South Korean parliamentarians on Wednesday, according to the Yonhap news agency.
Hyon was appointed defense minister less than a year ago. In North Korea the defense minister's responsibility includes logistics, while important defense policy issues are dealt with by the National Defence Commission.
During the execution Hyon was shot with flak (antiaircraft artillery). This method is reportedly only used in executions of high-ranking officials in North Korea.
- Domestic politics in North Korea are currently very unpredictable, says the American North Korea expert Michael Madden.
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