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THE WORLD

Report Details Prison Camps in N. Korea

October 23, 2003|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

WASHINGTON — A human rights report released Wednesday exposed harsh conditions in North Korean prison camps, where ex-political prisoners and guards described a life of torture and starvation.

The report by the nonprofit U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, which used satellite pictures to pinpoint prisons, estimated that North Korea had 150,000 to 200,0000 political prisoners working as slave laborers in prison colonies.

North Korean authorities have consistently denied that such camps exist.

"Beyond a starvation diet, torture, beatings and inhumane living and working conditions, this regime practices a form of collective punishment where three generations of family members are given life terms along with the family member charged with political crimes," said David Hawk, author of the report.

The report used testimony from 30 ex-prisoners and guards.

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