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N Korea frees prisoners to commemorate dead leaders

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N Korea frees prisoners to commemorate dead leaders

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An amnesty for political prisoners in North Korea has been announced – though the exact number of how many people will be freed remains unclear.

The gesture, starting on February 1, is to honour two of the state’s former leaders – Kim Jong-il, who died in December, and his father, Kim il-Sung who passed away in 1994.

With the third generation of the dynasty now in charge in the person of Kim Jong-un, 2012 is being presented as the 70th anniversary of his father’s birth and his grandfather’s centenary.

Human rights organisation Amnesty International estimates there are 200,000 political prisoners in North Korea, including women and children.