SEOUL North Korea said on Friday Jang Song Thaek, the uncle of leader Kim Jong Un and previously considered the second most powerful man in the secretive state, has been executed after a special military tribunal found him guilty of treason.
"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 attempting to overthrow the state," the North's official KCNA news agency said.
The official Rodong Sinmun newspaper on Friday carried a photograph of Jang in handcuffs and being held by uniformed guards as he stood trial.
Earlier this week North Korea stripped Jang of all posts and expelled him from the ruling Workers' Party, accusing him of criminal acts including mismanagement of the state financial system, womanising and alcohol abuse.
"From long ago, Jang had a dirty political ambition. He dared not raise his head when Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il were alive," KCNA said, referring to leader Kim's grandfather and father, who were previous rulers of the dynastic state.
"He began revealing his true colours, thinking that it was just the time for him to realise his wild ambition in the period of historic turn when the generation of the revolution was replaced."
The execution caps a spectacular downfall of the husband of leader Kim's aunt. Jang had previously suffered purges but fought his way back to the power circle to hold influential positions in the ruling party and the military.