Previously considered the second most powerful man in North Korea, Jang Song-thaek, uncle of leader Kim Jong-un, has been executed.
North Korea’s news agency KCNA said he was executed immediately after a military tribunal found him guilty of treason for seeking to overthrow the state.
“The accused Jang brought together undesirable forces and formed a faction as the boss of a modern day factional group for a long time and thus committed such hideous crime as trying to overthrow the state, by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods with a wild ambition to grab the supreme power of our party and state.” said KCNA in a statement.
Days before, armed guards had removed Jang, the former vice Chairman of the National Defence Commission, from a Communist Party meeting. He was then stripped of all official responsibilities.
Jang was viewed as a major player in North Korean politics, and had mentored Kim Jong-un during his early leadership of the state.
The execution is considered the biggest upheaval in North Korean politics since Kim Jong-un succeeded his father in 2011.