Dutch tourist and stamp collector Willem van der Bijl had visited North Korea 24 times over the years, but his visit last summer was somewhat different — he was arrested, held in prison, then missed his flight home. He was only allowed to leave once he had signed a full confession for “spying”.
Willem took the time to talk to NKNews about his experiences in the prison. His account is fascinating — Willem only ate rice (without salt or sugar) three times a day when he was in prison, and the guards kept all his possessions and charged him €120 for food when he was released.
Perhaps most incredible is Willem’s account of the forged newspaper article that appeared with his signature while he was in prison:
Willem notes that the interview, published in Pyongyang Times, is somewhat ironic, given that he was in the country to purchase propaganda posters. Incredibly, Willem actually did see a polling station when he was in North Korea — but unsurprisingly, his impression of the elections doesn’t quite match up with the version printed above.
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