Veteran faces assassination threat after plan to help North Koreans defect

Veteran faces assassination threat after plan to help North Koreans defect

Christopher Ahn and the Chalima Civil Defense Group

The Madrid Embassy Incident

  • In February 2019, Ahn and the Chalima team attempted to stage a mass kidnapping of the North Korean Embassy in Madrid.
  • The plan was to make it look like the embassy staff wanted to defect but were being held against their will.
  • The operation went wrong when the Spanish police arrived at the embassy.
  • The North Korean acting Ambassador claimed that the embassy staff had been held hostage and beaten.
  • Ahn and the Chalima team fled the embassy and left behind knives, handcuffs, and fake guns.
  • The Spanish authorities considered the incident a kidnapping, while Ahn maintained that it was a staged event to make it look real.
  • The timing of the raid raised questions as it occurred just days before a meeting between then-President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

Ahn's Arrest and Extradition Proceedings

  • Ahn was subsequently arrested by US Marshals in connection with the raid on the North Korean Embassy in Madrid and spent 87 days in jail.
  • Spain has issued international arrest warrants for Ahn and other Chala activists, accusing them of breaking and entering, illegal restraint, and causing injuries.
  • Ahn is currently out on bail but faces extradition to Spain, where he could be vulnerable to assassination by North Korean agents.
  • The US Department of Justice has argued that federal courts are obligated to extradite Ahn to Spain, while Ahn's attorney maintains that he may be killed if he leaves the United States.
  • The decision on whether to extradite Ahn ultimately rests with the US Secretary of State or the President.

North Korea's Response and Ahn's Safety Concerns

  • North Korea has a history of assassinations and has been publicly embarrassed by the embassy incident and Ahn's rescue.
  • Ahn believes that North Korea is trying to kill him based on information from the FBI.
  • Experts believe that Ahn is a high-priority target for North Korea due to his involvement in the Madrid raid and the rescue of Kim Han Sol.

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