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North Korea Announces Amnesty To Mark Births Of Leaders

North Korea has been ruled by (left to right) Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il, and Kim Jong Un.
Communist-ruled North Korea has announced an amnesty for prisoners to mark the upcoming birth anniversaries of its late leaders.

The North's official news agency said a parliamentary decree had authorized the amnesty from February 1, and said it would apply to "convicts."

The report did not give details on which prisoners would benefit from the amnesty, nor give numbers of how many prisoners would be affected.

Rights groups estimate that thousands of prisoners are held in North Korea for political reasons.

The state news agency report linked the amnesty to what it called the "noble, benevolent, and all-embracing politics" of the country's late father-and-son team of dictators, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.

The 70th anniversary of the birth of Kim Jong Il is on February 16.

He died in December after approving his son Kim Jong Un as successor.

The 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim's Jong Il's father and founding president of North Korea, Kim Il Sung, is on April 15.

compiled from agency reports