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North, South Korea Announce Prisoner Amnesty


The two Koreas have announced special prisoner amnesties to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the peninsula from Japanese colonial rule.

South Korean authorities said Friday, that President Roh Moo-hyun has issued more than four million pardons, covering a range of offenses including corruption by government officials, less serious crimes and traffic-law violations.

Authorities in Pyongyang say North Korea is granting amnesty to prisoners to celebrate not only the liberation of the Korean peninsula in 1945, but also the found of its Communist party 60 years ago.

The official Korean Central News Agency says the amnesty will take effect on September 1. There is no word on how many prisoners will be pardoned or what crimes the amnesty will absolve. The United States estimates that North Korea has between 150,000 and 200,000 political prisoners in custody.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.