South Korea to pay families of slain activists

image source, AFP
image captionThe two Koreas, separated by a demilitarised zone, remain technically at war

The Supreme Court in South Korea has ordered the government to compensate the families of a group of suspected North Korean sympathisers killed during the Korean War.

The court ordered the government to pay up to 40 million won ($35,200, £22,300) to 492 families who filed the lawsuit.

Their families said that security forces executed their relatives without proper trials.

The two Koreas are still technically at war despite their truce in 1953.

Many left-wing activists were targeted in South Korea during the war with North Korea from 1950-1953, as part of its anti-communism campaign.

In 1950, the government detained a group of about 400 people who were thought to be communist sympathisers. Most were killed by security forces.

The families filed the lawsuit in 2009.

The government had said that the group's claims exceeded the statute of limitations, but the court decided otherwise.

"We believe... that the government's argument about the statutory limit is a misuse of rights and is against the principle of bona fide," it said in its ruling, which upheld an earlier decision by a lower court in April.

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