Report Reveals Horrors of North Korea Prison Camps

Survivors describe starvation, torture
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2012 3:47 AM CDT
Updated May 10, 2012 6:00 AM CDT
Report Reveals Horrors of North Korea Prison Camps
A North Korean soldier stands guard inside a building in Pyongyang.   (Getty Images)

A South Korean human rights group has released the most detailed report yet on the horrific conditions in North Korea's labor camps, which are believed to hold up to 200,000 political prisoners. The report, based on interviews with hundreds of survivors who escaped to the South, tells of widespread starvation, incredibly brutal working conditions, and torture methods prisoners called the "Flying Jet," the “Motorcycle” and “Pumping," the Washington Post reports. The bodies of the many who died from disease, starvation, or overwork were burned and used for fertilizer, one survivor testified.

The government-funded group says it has created the report in the hope that those who supervised the abuse, many of whom are listed by name, will someday face justice. One man who spent three years in a North Korean prison camp for illegally crossing into China described how sadistic government officials forced starving prisoners to take part in Olympic-style "games," sending them on downhill races to retrieve corn cakes. "Many prisoners fell off the cliff while hustling and jostling on the way,” the report says, “and agents considered this as a spectacle or entertainment.” (More North Korea stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.