“Scale, aeroplane, motorcycle.” Survivors told the UN that they had to stay in painful stress positions with arms extended until they collapsed out of exhaustion.
A United Nations panel has accused North Korea of crimes against humanity, including systematic extermination, “murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, … and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation.”
The report is based on a year of public hearings with about 80 witnesses as well as confidential interviews with another 240 victims, including people who’d spent time in North Korean prison camps and experts.
Kim Kwang-il, a 48-year-old man who spent two years in a prison in North Korea, defected to South Korea in February 2009 and subsequently had professional artists draw sketches based on his recollections of torture and the conditions of prisoner life. Some of these were included in the report.
The U.N. obviously heard enough to decide that the pictures genuinely illustrate the atrocities being committed. They are similar to images published by former prisoners in 2012.
Kim Kwang-il told the UN that he “actually got worse treatment than the pictures that are shown in the book.”
That’s hard to imagine.
“Solitary confinement punishment. Capturing mice from inside the cell.”
“The corpses are taken to the crematorium.”
“The mice eat the eyes, nose, ears, and toes of the corpses.”
“Out of starvation and hunger, find snakes and rats and you eat them.”
“Pump torture. After sitting, you stand about a hundred times.”
In this position, called “pigeon torture,” prisoners are reportedly beaten on the chest until they vomit blood.
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