A US court ordered North Korea to pay compensation to the crew and family of the spy ship “USS Pueblo” who were tortured and ill-treated for 11 months in 1968 after their capture by the Navy.
On Thursday, the federal court in Washington said that the surviving crew members and families of the dead were entitled to compensation for imprisonment and suffering, amounting to $ 1.15 billion, but doubled the amount as a disciplinary measure against Pyongyang, according to Agence France-Presse.
The court added, in the merits of the decision, that many of the 83 crew members – one of them was killed by the North Koreans when they seized the “Pueblo” on January 23, 1968, and were subjected to psychological and physical abuse during their captivity.
It is important to note that the “Pueblo” was on its maiden voyage as a US Navy spy ship, under the guise of an environmental research vessel.
“Most of them suffered long-term effects, both psychological and physical, as a result of the brutality committed by North Koreans, most of them (individuals) required medical and psychological interventions,” wrote government delegate Alan Palaran, who was appointed in the case to monitor the damage.
Palaran wrote, “Many underwent unfair surgeries to reduce the physical damage resulting from the constant torture they were subjected to as prisoners … Many of them tried to numb their pain through alcohol and drugs, and most of them witnessed the deterioration of their home and professional lives … and some of them thought of suicide.”
It is worth noting that the lawsuit was not filed until 2018 after the US Department of Justice ruled that despite the existence of a law that granted the foreign government broad immunity from lawsuits in US courts, it could be prosecuted if the government was designated as a state sponsor of international terrorism.
In late 2017, the Trump administration officially declared North Korea a sponsor of terrorism.