Former NK Defector Speaks at One World Festival

Refugee Tells Her Story

Koh Jeong Mee talks about tortures she has experienced.

Koh Jeong Mee talks about tortures she has experienced.

On Feb. sixth and seventh LFNKR participated in the One World Festival held in Osaka, Japan to help boost the public’s awareness of the many human rights abuses that continue in North Korea.

At the yearly One World Festival, NGO/NPOs, international institutions, local administration and companies involved in international cooperation gather together to tell about their activities, and to hold symposia and panel discussions on such issues as peace, human rights and the environment.

The following is a brief summary of the report prepared by Mr. K.G., a member of LFNKR. It describes the testimony presented by Ms. Koh Jeong Mee, a former NK defector.

Ms. Koh, when interviewed by Japanese TV journalists, related her traumatic experiences as a prisoner in North Korea.  She said that she was placed in a cell and told to spread her hands on her lap to show that she was holding nothing in her hands. But then her spread hands were beaten with a metal bar, breaking some of her fingers.  While telling of the tortures she endured, she was literally shivering and weeping.

More than 10 relatives, including her brothers were sent to prison camps where they were killed.

One of her saddest regrets relates to her father when he was arrested and tortured for no clear reason.  He was confined in a tiny prison cell for so long and unable to move, that his buttock muscles atrophied and grew thinner. At one point a part of his pelvic bone protruded.

Miraculously, her father was eventually released from prison.  But when he bitterly criticized the Labor Party, Ms. Koh argued with him, saying, “You should thank the Labor Party for their merciful treatment. It helped you survive.”  Back then, she said, she had been thoroughly brainwashed.  She burst into tears as she was relating this, and said how much she regrets her actions.  She added that this kind of behavior is a typical horror of being brainwashed.