Two North Korean fishermen sentenced to 13,8 years in jail, respectively, for attacking Russian border guards in Sea of Japan
VLADIVOSTOK. July 7 (Interfax) - The Primorye Territorial Court has acquitted two North Korean fishermen of an attack on Russian border guards in the Sea of Japan. They have also found another ten fishermen guilty on the same charges and released them in the courtroom as they have served their time. The court also sentenced two fishermen to 13 and 8 years in jail, respectively, an Interfax correspondent reported from the courtroom.
The court sentenced ten defendants to imprisonment terms of four years to four years and two months and released them in the courtroom as they had served their time already.
The court viewed as mitigating circumstances the facts that the defendants pleaded guilty on some of the charges and served as breadwinners for young children and disabled family members.
Depending on their roles in the incident, the defendants were found guilty of attempt on the life of law enforcement officers and military servicemen, and violence endangering the life and health of a person in authority.
The Primorye Territorial Court started hearing the criminal case in September 2020, and all 14 defendants have been kept in custody.
Officers of the border department of the Russian Federal Security Service's branch in the Primorye Territory spotted a North Korean fishing vessel poaching squid on September 17, 2019. The North Korean fishermen were harvesting squid in the Kita-Yamato Bank area in the Russian exclusive economic zone in the Sea of Japan. Border guards detained the fishing vessel.
As the vessel was being examined, 17 North Korean fishermen used improvised weapons to attack the Russian inspection team. One assailant seized a service-issue weapon and fired at a border guard.
Six North Korean fishermen were charged with attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, and eight were charged with violence endangering the life and health of a person in authority. The prosecutor demanded from 9 to 23 years of imprisonment for the defendants, and the defense asked for acquittal. The defendants pleaded for lenience in their final statements.
Criminal cases of another three North Korean citizens were directed to the Nakhodka City Court. Two of them were sentenced to four years of imprisonment, and the third was jailed for seven years for attacking Russian border guards.