Tuesday, 18 Nov, 2008 Politics

North Korea Holds Annual Massive Executions in Prisoner Camps


According to a group of defectors, prison camps in North Korea include 300,000 people and each year authorities perform mass executions of disobedient prisoners. In addition, An Myong-Chul, 40, who is a former prisoner camp guard, said that torture and sexual violence often take place at the camps.

An Myong-Chul fled to South Korea ten years ago. He said that every year, North Korean authorities execute 20 inmates at each prisoner camp. His voice was heard by those who gathered at a ceremony to set a team, which would be called the Campaign for North Korean Freedom. An is the head of the campaign that is supported by 120 defectors and activists from South Korea, who hope to release political prisoners held in prison camps of the communist state.

According to the estimations of Freedom House, an American watchdog, in 2007 about 200,000 prisoners were registered in the camps. An stated that the report presented by Freedom House was based on old data. He outlined that the number of prisoners significantly increased over the last months and now there are over 300,000 inmates, which shows a "growing political instability" in North Korea. An mentioned that the information he currently possesses was obtained from other defectors.

"As a guard, I was trained to kill all the inmates in an emergency. (Apart from those executed) they are subjected to forced labor until their death," he said.

Another defector, Im Jong-Su, 43, said that he was kept at Camp Number 18, located in the riverside village of Kaechon, which is found in South Pyongan province. He was born in the camp and managed to escape in 2004. The reason why he was held as a prisoner was because his father had been a soldier of South Korean army and was captured during the conflict of 1950-1953. South officials stated that after the end of the conflict North Korea never sent more than 500 inmates home.

North Korea was described by the Campaign for North Korean Freedom as "a giant gulag." The group called for international cooperation to help fight for human rights in the region.

"Especially, women and children held at camps for political prisoners are under extremely severe conditions," stated the members of the group.

The 2007 report on human rights, presented by the US State Department said that there were 150,000-200,000 people kept in political prisoner camps, located in isolated regions. Some of them were jailed for simply sitting on newspapers that featured the image of North Korean founder Kim Il-Sung, or the current leader of the country Kim Jong-Il.

Powered by www.infoniac.com

Add your comment:

antispam code