[North Korean] defectors reported that pregnant female prisoners underwent forced abortions and in other cases babies were killed upon birth in prison camps. Prisoners reportedly continued to die from beatings, disease, starvation, or exposure.
According to a 2003 report by the US Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, torture was “routine” and “severe.”
Methods of torture reportedly included severe beatings, electric shock, prolonged periods of exposure, humiliations such as public nakedness, confinement for up to several weeks in small “punishment cells” in which prisoners were unable to stand upright or lie down, being forced to kneel or sit immobilized for long periods, being hung by one’s wrists, being forced to stand up and sit down to the point of collapse, and forcing mothers recently repatriated from China to watch the infanticide of their newborn infants. Defectors continued to report that many prisoners died from torture, disease, starvation, exposure, or a combination of these causes.
-- Excerpt of latest State Department’s Human Rights report, country section on North Korea