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North Korean Official Executed for Having Bad Posture and Sleeping During Meetings

On Wednesday, South Korean officials announced that last month, a North Korean firing squad shot and killed Kim Yong-Jin, a vice premier for education, for falling asleep.

This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on August 25, 2016 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) waving as he inspects a test-fire of strategic submarine-launched ballistic missile at an undisclosed location. / AFP / KCNA / KNS / South Korea OUT / REPUBLIC OF KOREA OUT  / SOUTH KOREA OUT ---EDITORS NOTE--- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO/KCNA VIA KNS" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
THIS PICTURE WAS MADE AVAILABLE BY A THIRD PARTY. AFP CAN NOT INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, LOCATION, DATE AND CONTENT OF THIS IMAGE. THIS PHOTO IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY AFP.  /         (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)
This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on August 25, 2016 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) waving as he inspects a test-fire of strategic submarine-launched ballistic missile at an undisclosed location. / AFP / KCNA / KNS / South Korea OUT / REPUBLIC OF KOREA OUT / SOUTH KOREA OUT ---EDITORS NOTE--- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO/KCNA VIA KNS" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS THIS PICTURE WAS MADE AVAILABLE BY A THIRD PARTY. AFP CAN NOT INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, LOCATION, DATE AND CONTENT OF THIS IMAGE. THIS PHOTO IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY AFP. / (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

If you thought your boss overreacted after that time you fell asleep during a board meeting, then at least be thankful for this much: he didn’t have you executed.

On Wednesday, South Korean officials announced that last month, a North Korean firing squad shot and killed Kim Yong-Jin, a vice premier for education, for doing just that.

His audacity to either fall asleep or have such bad posture that others thought he did during a meeting run by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un earned him the pleasure of an interrogation by government officials. It was after that meeting that he was labeled an “anti-party, anti-revolutionary agitator,” and sentenced to death.

“Kim Yong-Jin was denounced for his bad sitting posture when he was sitting below the rostrum,” Seoul’s Unification Ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-Hee said on Wednesday.

Two other officials, including Kim Yong-Chol — the man in charge of inter-Korean affairs — were sent to “reeducation programs.” In North Korea, that often means work camp, and in Kim’s case, he’ll be laboring on farm indefinitely.

It’s no wonder that 10 North Korean officials have defected since January of this year.

Photo credit: KNS/AFP/Getty Images

Siobhán O’Grady is a freelance journalist working across sub-Saharan Africa. She previously worked as a staff writer at Foreign Policy. @siobhan_ogrady

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