Life inside a North Korean prison is far from ordinary and verges on barbarian. A former guard describes what life is like for the inmates of North Korea with grueling detail. They face beatings, starvation, rape, and summary executions for dissenting from the government or trying to escape.
Lim Hye-jin has seen people set on fire, beheaded, and mass shootings in a group punishment after foiled escape attempts. There is no easy way to deal with the dissenters of the North Korean government as they sit on par with some of the most disturbing prison systems of all time.
The prison guard Lim was herself imprisoned before she escaped after she was caught illegally training. She now lives in South Korea safe and home free. She escaped 15 years ago but the images of the treatment and punishments still make her uneasy. She claims she was manipulated to not feel any sympathy for the prisoners as they had committed great crimes against the government. She now says that they were in fact just normal people and she feels terrible and very guilty.
In one extreme case a pair of brothers successfully bid for their freedom temporarily. Seven members of their family were executed on the spot for revenge. They were later dragged back to the camp, had stones thrown at them by the other prisoners forced to participate and then beheaded. This was apparently done as a warning to the other prisoners.
Human rights have long been a problem with those in North Korea. Tensions continue to rise with Donald Trump as president and could see a climax that results in bloodshed or worse, all out nuclear war. Our president has often threatened Pyongyang with major conflict if they didn’t halt their nuclear program but we have yet to see an end. Time will tell if we can diffuse this conflict peacefully as we intend.