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Over 150,000 North Koreans held captive in hidden gulag

Pyongyang , Tue, 10 Apr 2012 ANI

Pyongyang, Apr 10 (ANI): Over 150,000 North Koreans have been held captive in a Soviet-style hidden gulag in the country, despite the communist government's denial that it holds political prisoners, a new report has revealed.

A report by the US-based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, is based on interviews with 60 former prisoners and guards. It also includes satellite images of what are described as prison labour camps and penitentiaries, the Daily Express reports.

The 200-page report describes different kinds of detention facilities, including penal labour colonies, enclosed behind barbed wires and electrified fences, mainly in the north and north central mountains of the country.

The report alleges that the gulag detains many families, including children and grandparents for the "political crimes" of other family members.

It also documents details of infanticide and forced abortions of women prisoners, who illegally tried to cross China and got pregnant by men, and were then forcibly sent back to North Korea.

The committee is holding a conference in Washington, for Pyongyang's celebrations to mark the centennial of the repressive nation's founder where US envoy on North Korean Human Rights Robert King is due to address the session.It is not just nuclear weapons that have to be dismantled but an entire system of political repression," Roberta Cohen, Chairwoman of the committee's Board of Directors, was quoted as saying.

The report estimates that the camp system holds between 150,000 and 200,000 people - out of a total population of around 24 million. It urges North Korea to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross access, and to dismantle the camps. (ANI)

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