Torture, Lack of Due Process, Arbitrary Punishment, Corruption Rampant
(Seoul) – The North Korean pretrial detention and investigation system is arbitrary and lacks any semblance of due process, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Former detainees described systematic torture, dangerous and unhygienic conditions, and unpaid forced labor.
The 88-page report, “‘Worth Less Than an Animal’: Abuses and Due Process Violations in Pretrial Detention in North Korea,” provides a unique and detailed description of the country’s opaque criminal justice system. It highlights North Korea’s weak legal and institutional framework, and the political nature of the courts and law enforcement agencies under the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.
“North Korea’s pretrial detention and investigation system is arbitrary, violent, cruel, and degrading,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “North Koreans say they live in constant fear of being caught in a system where official procedures are usually irrelevant, guilt is presumed, and the only way out is through bribes and connections.” ......