Seoul, Nov.18 : A former North Korean camp guard has revealed that mass executions, torture and sexual violence against prisoners are a regular feature in that country's prison camps.
According to An Myong-Chul, 40, these camps are presently holding about 300,000 people, and he adds that around this time North Korea executes up to 20 inmates at each camp.
News.com.au quoted Myong-Chul, who defected to South Korea ten years ago, as saying,that as guard he was trained to kill all the inmates in an emergency. He said that those who survived that initial purge, were subjected to forced labour until their death.
He was speaking at the launch of a group called the Campaign for North Korean Freedom. An heads the campaign, supported by about 120 defectors and South Korean activists who work for the release of political prisoners in the hardline communist state.
South Korea says the North never sent home more than 500 prisoners at the end of the war. Im was born in the camp and escaped to South Korea in 2004.
An's group described North Korea as "a giant gulag" and called for international cooperation to improve its human rights.