Panama: N Koreans could face 6yrs in jail

2013-07-18 13:55

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Panama City - North Korean sailors whose dilapidated ship was halted near the Panama Canal and found to be carrying military equipment could face up to six years in jail, a prosecutor has said.

The 35-man crew of the Chong Chon Gang - which was stopped as it approached the major waterway last Friday - are in custody at a former US military base in the port of Manzanillo in northern Panama.

The Soviet-era weaponry, discovered among tonnes of sugar during an anti-drugs search, belongs to Cuba and was being taken to North Korea for repair, the communist allies have said.

Panamanian anti-drugs prosecutor Javier Caraballo told reporters late on Wednesday that the sailors may face jail for transporting arms illegally.

"This type of behaviour could carry a sentence of between four and six years," he said, noting that the crew are staying silent.

"They took up their right not to testify," he said, standing next to the seized ship in Manzanillo.

Demand for vessel's return


Panama on Monday said it had discovered the shipment after impounding the vessel and conducting a drugs search. The ship's captain tried to kill himself and the crew rioted, according to Panama's president.

The crew remain in custody at Fort Sherman military base and "are in perfect health", according to Caraballo.

North Korea has demanded the vessel's return, saying the shipment formed part of a legitimate deal with Cuba.

On Wednesday Panama officially requested United Nations inspectors scrutinise the cargo.

"The cargo is illegal because it was not declared. Anything that is not logged, even if it is obsolete, is contraband," said Panamanian Security Minister Jose Raul Mulino.

Read more on:    panama  |  cuba  |  north korea

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/World

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.