SEOUL -- The once-powerful uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was sentenced to death and executed Thursday, the state Korea Central News Agency reported Friday.
The execution of Jang Sung Taek, 67, came only four days after he was accused of "anti-state, counter-revolutionary activities," stripped of all his posts and arrested at a politburo meeting of the ruling party. The 30-year-old North Korean leader allegedly presided over the meeting.
Though Jang's fall from grace was already clear, observers of the reclusive nation had speculated that he would not be executed because he was the husband of Kim Kyoung-hui, the sister of the current leader's father and predecessor, Kim Jong Il.
U.S. intelligence officials said they could not confirm the execution but have no reason to doubt the reports.
"It is quite shocking, but it seems like Kim Jong Un was determined to show whoever challenges his sole leadership will be punished, without mercy," Kim Yong Hyun, a North Korea studies professor at Dongguk University told South Korean news channel YTN.