Beaten For Snoring While Sleeping

 

An Investigation by the United nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) in communist North Korea has indictaed that the victims of state sposnored discrimination and torture in the country was similar to the kind of treatment that is meted out to Dalits In India and in the Indian sub-continent.

According to the report, as in the case of bonded Dalit labour in India, Inmates of ordinary prison camps are subject to strict rules and must demonstrate absolute obedience to the guards. Failure to obey an order is punished in a variety of ways, ranging from food ration cuts and deprivation of sleep to reassignment to harsher labour, beatings and solitary confinement in tiny cells.

Former inmates of different ordinary prison camps indicated that solitary confinement meant imprisonment in cells so small that the victim could not lie down or stand up. During time served in solitary confinement, the food ration is reduced to less than 100 grams of rice or corn porridge per day.

Guards often impose punishments on prisoners on the spot. Even serious cases of physical abuse by the guards or prison unit leaders, acting on their behalf, do not result in any accountability. Prisoners incarcerated for politically sensitive crimes are often singled out for particular punishment.

• Mr Kim Gwang-il described how guards at Ordinary Prison Camp (kyohwaso) No. 12 at Jonggo-ri had the right to beat or otherwise torture them at any point, including for trivial matters such as snoring while sleeping. The guards also assigned inmates to the worst forced labour or cut their rations based on reports of misconduct they received from informers among the prisoners.

• A former inmate of Ordinary Prison Camp (kyohwaso) No. 1 at Kaechon, who was sent to prison for expressing her Christian religion, was punished 10 times with solitary confinement during her seven years of detention. She was also assigned to pull the cart used to remove excrement from the prison latrines. Several times the guards made her lick off excrement that had spilled over in order to humiliate and discipline her.

• Another former prisoner recounted how he and other prisoners of Ordinary Prison Camp (kyohwaso) No. 12 at Jonggo-ri were ordered to protect the stems of corn from heavy rains by placing earth around it. When inmates used the occasion to eat corn and the guards caught them, they made them keep a corn stalk in their mouth all day. Any inmate dropping the stalk received a heavy beating.

• A man who had been convicted in relation to illegal travel and smuggling across the Chinese border talked o a fellow inmate in his cell at Kyohwaso No. 12, even though that was not allowed. The guard punished him by ramming a metal rod in his mouth, causing him to lose several teeth.

• Another former inmate of Kyohwaso No. 12 broke the rule of never looking a prison official in the eye. According to his testimony, he was beaten with a club and kicked until he bled and his arm was broken.

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