PANAMA CITY, June 27 A Panamanian court on
Friday ordered the release of three North Korean ship officers
who were jailed after they were caught smuggling Cuban weapons
through the Central American country.
The court absolved the captain and two officers, ruling
that charges against them fell outside of Panama's jurisdiction,
the country's judicial authority said in a statement.
The Chong Chon Gang ship was seized in July last year for
smuggling Soviet-era arms, including two MiG-21 jet fighters,
under thousands of tonnes of sugar.
Thirty-two North Korean sailors and the ship were released
back in February.
A United Nations report issued in March said North Korea has
developed sophisticated ways to circumvent United Nations
sanctions, including the suspected use of its embassies to
facilitate an illegal trade in weapons.