Kim Jong-un's uncle branded 'human scum' and executed

Jang Song-Thaek

Four days after his arrest, Jang Song Thaek is found guilty of treason and shot by a firing squad

LAST UPDATED AT 09:39 ON Fri 13 Dec 2013

FOUR days after he was dragged out of a party meeting by soldiers, North Korea's most powerful official has been found guilty of treason and executed.

Jang Song Thaek, the uncle of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, was killed, reportedly by a firing squad, shortly after a military tribunal found him guilty of "attempting to overthrow the state".

Described as "despicable human scum" by the pariah state's official news agency KCNA, Jang was also accused of leading a decadent "Western lifestyle" by indulging in drugs and alcohol.

In a ferocious 2,700-word character assassination carried out by KCNA, Jang was said to be "worse than a dog". He was guilty of "thrice-cursed acts of treachery in betrayal of such profound trust and warmest paternal love shown by the party and the leader for him."

The statement added: "The accused is a traitor to the nation for all ages who perpetrated anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts in a bid to overthrow the leadership of our party and state and the socialist system."

Shortly after Jang's execution, images emerged that showed he had been "retrospectively cut out of official videos and photographs," The Independent reports.

The elimination of Jang is seen as the most significant in a series of purges carried out by Kim Jong-un since he inherited power from his father in 2011.

The Daily Telegraph says Jang's death is a brutal end to a remarkable career. Although he had "humble roots" in rural North Korea, he managed to attend the prestigious Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang.

After graduating, Jang rose from municipal bureaucrat to vice chairman of the National Defence Commission and member of the Political Bureau - posts that put him second in power only to Kim, the paper says. He was married to Kim's aunt, Kim Kyong-hui, and was often described as the young dictator's mentor.

Jang was also a "well-travelled diplomat" and was instrumental in furthering economic ties with China.

The Telegraph says the "shocking public humiliation" of a man once seen as a father figure to Kim Jong-Un is designed to send a clear message to ordinary North Koreans - anything less than absolute loyalty to the regime and its leader will not be tolerated. · 

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