CHILLING images show the moment two North Korean defectors were dragged back over the border before they were allegedly executed.
The fishermen were forcibly hauled back into the dictatorship “to meet their doom” after fleeing to the safety of South Korea.
They had been accused of killing 16 of their shipmates in a bloody fight over an abusive captain before trying to escape in 2019.
They took to the sea but were taken into custody after their boat drifted into South Korean waters, before being deported just five days later.
Stark snaps show their struggle to stay in the democratic region as South Korean soldiers wrestle them over the border.
North Korean officials are seen ominously waiting to receive the resistant pair, who desperately tried to delay their fate.
But Kim Jong Un’s henchmen were waiting in vehicles on the other side of the Demilitarised Zone to whisk the defector’s off.
The disturbing pictures, released in a rare move by Seoul’s Unification Ministry, have sparked outrage in South Korea, The Telegraph reports.
According to the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, it was the first such deportation since the 1953 Korean War Armistice.
The two fishermen were reportedly executed for treason in their homeland this week, although this has not been independently confirmed.
Their deaths have reignited the uproar surrounding the 2019 case, with the deportation branded a “barbaric crime against humanity.”
South Korea’s presidential office condemned the repatriation, pinning the blame on slippery former leader Moon Jae-in.
The former President branded the men as “dangerous criminals who would threaten South Koreans’ safety,” at the time.
According to human rights groups, the ousting was also politically motivated as Moon wanted to conduct peace talks with Kim Jong-un.
The men would have never received a fair trial for the alleged murder, they added.
Other defectors who survived the consequences told how they were tortured and outcast, while living in fear they remain on Kim Jong Un’s “target list.”
‘CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY’
It has been claimed thousand of refugees are secretly living in Britain and the US after escaping the brutal regime.
President Yoon Suk-yeol’s spokeswoman Kang In-sun said: “If they were forcibly repatriated to the North even when they expressed their will to defect, it’s a crime against humanity that violated both international law and the constitution.”
She promised the new administration would expose the truth behind the decision to banish the defectors, as an investigation into the case was re-opened.
But Moon’s former situation room chief and opposition lawmaker Yoon Kun-young hit back at furious critics.
He wrote on Facebook: “President Yoon, are you saying we should have let the grotesque murderers get away with their crime and protect them with our own people’s tax money?”
Moon has not commented on the fresh allegations.
It’s just absolutely shocking to look at these photos. I can’t believe this happened in South Korea, a democratic country.
Ji Seong-ho, a defector lawmaker with the conservative People’s Power Party who escaped North Korea in 2006, said he was “speechless” after seeing the photos.
He told NK News the fishermen were clearly physically resisting “with all their might not to be sent back to the North.”
He added: “It’s just absolutely shocking to look at these photos. I can’t believe this happened in South Korea, a democratic country.”
And Phil Robertson of New York-based Human Rights Watch also slammed officials involved with the scandal.
He fumed: “The two men’s desperate resistance to being forced back that is so apparent in those photos show that they understood they were fighting for their lives.
“What’s clear is the Moon Jae-in government was so desperate to please North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un that they shamefully disregarded basic principles of human rights and humanity, and that is precisely what they did by pushing these two men back to the North.”
South Korean prosecutors have launched an investigation into the case in wake of the controversy.
A parliamentary probe into the government’s actions will also take place.
One group of South Korean lawyers has even pledged to file a complaint against the former president for attempted murder.
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