Crew of US spy ship seized by North Korea 50 years ago sues Pyongyang

Surviving crew members of the USS Pueblo have filed a lawsuit against North Korea for hijacking and torture in the 1968 "Pueblo incident." The seizing of the ship had nearly sparked a nuclear war at the time as US military generals debated all possible means to rescue the abducted crew, who were held for 11 months in a detention camp near Pyongyang.
North Korean soldiers at the DMZ Photo Credit: EPA-EFE

The surviving crew of the US spy ship USS Pueblo, that was held hostage and tortured by North Korea for 11 months over 50 years ago, has filed a lawsuit against Pyongyang. The ship was seized in international waters off the Korean Peninsula in what is known today as the "Pueblo incident."

Over 100 crew members and desecendents have joined the lawsuit that was filed this month. "Our clients are seeking to hold North Korea accountable for the unspeakable acts committed against the crew of the USS Pueblo more than 50 years ago and the impact it has had on them and their families since then," the plaintiffs' lawyers told CNN on Monday. "Even though they can't get back that nearly entire year of their lives, they hope this case will finally bring closure to that horrible chapter."

The seizing of the ship nearly sparked a nuclear war in 1968 as US military generals debated all possible means to rescue the abducted crew, who underwent physical and psychological torture. Finally, after months of negotiations with the North Koreans at the Panmunjom "peace village," the US agreed to sign a Pyongyang-drafted apology, after which the crew was released.

The survivors are looking to receive around $5.7 million each from the isolated dictatorship, for “severe and lasting or permanent physical injuries and disfigurement and psychological harm,” according to the lawsuit. Pyongyang however, is unlikely to address the case, but the plaintiffs hope to receive aid from a US fund set for the support of terror victims.

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