July 3rd, 2013 Headsman
On this date in 1969, alleged North Korean operative Lee Soogeun (other transliterations exist for his given name, such as Soo Keun or Soo-geun) was hanged at a Seoul prison for espionage.
A North Korean party elite, Lee was the Vice President of the North Korean Central News Agency.
Lee hit the lecture circuit critically discussing the situation north of the 38th parallel, and worked as an analyst for South Korean intelligence.
However, the KCIA also had Lee under surveillance, and came to believe that he was actually gathering intelligence to send to the north. Realizing his predicament, Lee fled with his niece for Cambodia. They were captured en route in Vietnam.
South Korea’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has, while stopping short of exonerating Lee, ruled his confinement illegal, and the self-incriminating statements he made in that environment insufficient evidence, and urged his case be re-tried. Lee’s niece served 20 years of a life sentence as his accomplice, but was released in 1989 and eventually won a 6.8 billion won wrongful imprisonment suit.
Also on this date
- 1817: Two-fifths of the condemned in Valenciennes
- 1945: Dr. Achmad Mochtar, quiet hero
- 1648: The leaders of the Salt Riot
- 1972: Three Somali officers for an attempted coup
- 1931: Ernesto Opisso
- 1570: Aonio Paleario, Italian religious reformer