Prisoners protesting cruel treatment exempted from upcoming mass amnesty
Two military factory laborers held in a correctional labor camp (kyohwaso) in Chagang Province have received severe punishment, including 10 days in solitary confinement, after holding a hunger strike in response to cruel treatment during their imprisonment. The two prisoners were accused of committing acts that “went against and actively opposed the Republic’s Constitution” and have been excluded from an amnesty list issued for August.
“In early July, two prisoners at the Songgan Correctional Labor Camp in Songgan County, Chagang Province, held a three-day hunger strike to protest the cruel treatment they have received,” said a source in Chagang Province.
The two prisoners were arrested by security officials in March 2015 after being caught siphoning off aluminum sheets and other military production materials from a military factory in Chagang. They were then sent to a preliminary hearing at the local police station.
The two were sentenced to five years in a correctional labor camp for the crime of damaging military production, and in September 2015 were sent to the Number 6 Correctional Labor Camp, which was established for the punishment of crimes related to military projects.
The two prisoners, however, were subjected to verbal abuse and violence over a number of years by the chief guard (a Mr. Choe, in his 30s). The two began a hunger strike, but it ultimately led to them being thrown into solitary confinement and being exempted from the amnesty. ......