Beatings, rape, starvation and sick public executions are a daily reality for thousands of North Koreans, according to years of witness testimony.
Now, the death of Otto Warmbier has brought fresh scrutiny to the regime’s brutal torture camps under leader Kim Jong Un.
The 22-year-old student passed away from mysterious brain damage he suffered while a prisoner in the isolated state.
He succumbed to his horrifying injuries just six days after he was released from North Korea back to his parents in a vegetative state following 17 months in custody.
Its believed he spent some of that time in one of Kim’s prison camps, where thousands of his citizens are believed to have died.
Warmbier’s doctors in Cincinnati said that the student had suffered ‘extensive loss of brain tissue in all regions of his brain’ consistent with oxygen deprivation for a prolonged period.
The isolated North Korean regime is believed to have as many 120,000 political prisoners in its harsh labor camps.
Grotesque stories of torture offer among the few clues to Warmbier’s fate.
This drawing depicts prisoners foraging among live wild animals. In the Korean description: ‘out of starvation and hunger, find snakes and rats and you eat them’.
In a 2014 report, the United Nations Human Rights Commission called North Korea ‘a state that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world’ due to the country’s ‘systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations’.
Beatings are widespread in the camps, in which guards are given near-absolute authority to abuse and kill prisoners, according to survivors who have survived to speak out.
Escapees have said that the sounds of beatings were so extreme each night that it was impossible to sleep.
Yet Warmbier’s doctors have said that extensive scans have revealed no evidence of broken or fractured bones, including to his skull. They also found no damage to his neck tissue that could indicate strangulation. Read more