International human rights groups have reported about the existence of political prison camps since the late 1980s.
American student Otto Warmbier reportedly suffered “extensive loss of brain tissue” when detained in North Korea.
Fox News reported:
“The case of American student Otto Warmbier, who sustained serious injuries while he was detained in North Korea, is renewing the focus on the horrors that prisoners face in North Korea’s infamous torture camps.
Officials at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where Warmbier is being treated, said that while there is no physical evidence he was beaten, his “extensive loss of brain tissue” suggests he likely lost blood supply to his brain for a period of time.
How that happened is up for debate, but after a seemingly healthy 22-year-old college student winds up with severe brain damage shortly after being sentenced to 15 years of labor, some experts are inclined to remind people about the kinds of brutality that regularly occur in North Korea’s infamous camps.
Graphic video footage of what are reportedly interrogations at North Korean camps reveal that prisoners are bound at the hands as they are subjected to whatever cruelties the guards feel like inflicting. And, according to some former guards who have since defected, the level of cruelty is entirely up to them.
In a 2014 documentary on life inside of North Korea’s labor camps, “Camp 14: Total Control Zone,” one former labor camp official suggested that the guards at these camps serve as judge, jury and executioner.
Kwon Hyuk, who is identified in the film as an ex-commander of the guards in a North Korean labor camp, said prisoners are “treated like animals” once they arrive at the camps.
“The life of an inmate is worth less than the life of a worm,” he said. “They can’t defend themselves, not even when they’re being beaten. I could do anything with the prisoners that I like. The decision whether to kill them or let them live was completely up to me.”
In a 2014 Sky News report, “The Defectors,” escapees from North Korea’s prison camps suggest that they are unable to fall asleep at night because “from every room there are sounds, sounds of beatings.”
North Korean officials have denied that there are any “labor camps” in the country at all, instead suggesting that they are places designed for “education.” According to the United Nation Human Rights Commission, “the very existence of political prison camps is considered a state secret, even though international human rights groups have reported about them since the late 1980s.””
Do you think Otto Warmbier was tortured?