by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - A new report by rights group Korea Future details torture and other forms of violence that were perpertrated by prison guards against 91 Christians detained in North Korea between 1997 and 2018, Christian Today (CT) reports.
Communist North Korea has classified Christianity as a “political crime” for which the penalties are severe. According to the Korea Future report, only a few underground churches are known to exist in the secretive country. Nevertheless, the report says, even the “presumed existence” of underground churches “prompts Ministry of State Security-run investigations to last years and involve multiple branches."
Published last month, the Korea Future report is based on interviews with witnesses and survivors who managed to escape to South Korea, CT said. The report details 167 human rights violations by prison guards, including Christian detainees being beaten about the head until "blood spurted upwards."
The report presents evidence that Christian prisoners were beaten "with objects, fists, and feet,” forced to ingest polluted food, and subjected to positional torture, sleep deprivation, and forced squat jumps, CT said. One Christian victim interviewed revealed he was detained at the Onsong County Ministry of State Security Detention Center where "correctional officers would make detainees suspected of studying the Bible stick their heads between the steel bars of a cell door.”
In some cases, the Korea Future report asserted, “the physical beatings of victims were so severe that it contributed to their premature deaths.” North Korea ranks number one on the 2021 US Open Doors World Watch List of top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.