Thursday, October 30, 2008

Defectors gather to tell of North Korea abuses

The condemned inmate, his body torn apart by guard dogs, slumped unconscious as the three executioners fired. The bullets shattered his skull, splattering blood near other prisoners forced to watch.

His offense — trying to escape from the remote prison camp in North Korea.

“People were seized with fear, but no one could say anything,” former prisoner Jung Gyoung-il said, recalling the 2001 execution. “That’s worse than the way animals are slaughtered.”

For a decade, North Korea has denied such accounts from defectors and South Korea has shied away from them to maintain good relations with its wartime rival. But now, under new President Lee Myung-bak, South Korea is investigating alleged abuses, including the prison camp system.

South Korea’s state-run human rights watchdog is interviewing defectors and is hosting a two-day international forum on the issue this week.

[Taipei Times]

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