Beyond the military malignancy, North Korea has done a rather poor job of hiding one of their most unnerving secrets: A series of concentration camps where dissidents and criminals are punished in cruel and inhuman ways for even the slightest offense. Defectors from the hermit kingdom have relayed tales of pure horror from inside these institutions that would make Adolph Hitler weep.
The circumstances surrounding American Otto Warmbier immediately come to mind when any discussion of these forced labor camps arise.
Warmbier, who was sentenced to 15 years in a North Korean concentration camp for removing a poster from the wall of a hotel in the reclusive nation, was a regular prisoner for only a few days before his treatment at the hands of his captors sent him into a coma. Over a year later, Warmbier was returned to the United States where he promptly passed away from his injuries.
Now Warmbier’s parents are speaking out against the North Koreans’ treatment of their son, detailing even more horrific facts about the condition in which Otto was returned to them.
“The first time Otto Warmbier’s parents saw their son after he was flown back from North Korea in June, they were confronted with the sound of inhuman howling so terrifying Otto’s mom ran off the plane.
“As they waited for the plane bringing him back to Ohio, Otto’s parents, Fred and Cindy, had held on to hope that with medical care in the United States, he would eventually get better. That optimism didn’t last long.
“’Otto had a shaved head, he had a feeding tube coming out of his nose, he was staring blankly into space, jerking violently,’ Fred said. ‘He was blind. He was deaf. As we looked at him and tried to comfort him it looked like someone had taken a pair of pliers and rearranged his bottom teeth.’
Warmbier’s treatment, as cruel and unimaginable as it seems, is not unique according to human rights activists and North Korea defectors.
Terrifying tales have emerged from deep within the DPRK for years, with torture, maiming, and forced abortions topping the list of atrocities that occur at the more than one dozen sites designated for such prisoners.