Lim Ok Kyung | had smuggled Chinese entertainment equipment across the border into North Korea. When the authorities found out, Lim’s fate was largely locked up.

Unlike in Western countries, North Korean law operates on a presumption of guilt. In other words, mere arrest means, in practice, judgment.

Lim’s advantage was that her husband served in the Communist Party. The spouse’s tireless struggle for his wife shortened his imprisonment to just ten days.

For many others, arrest means the death penalty.

– I had to stand together for five days. They didn’t let me sleep at all, Lim times in a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report.

– Some guards kicked me in their boots as they walked past.

Eventually, Limi was given his own cell, but he couldn’t sleep on its cement floor because the temperature sank to the side of the frost. A thin blanket did not help keep the cold away.

Lim knows he’s lucky. It was through relationships that he avoided falling into overpopulated mass cells. After spending three days completely without food, he got some cabbage, bean soup and barley.

– At that point, everything tasted delicious.

“Constant fear”

Lim’s report is just one of the testimonies collected by HRW about systematic human rights violations in North Korea. Torture, assaults, forcing hours into one position, and even rape are common means of interrogation.

And the situation will not improve even if they “acknowledge” the crime being prosecuted.

Several inmates also report deficiencies in basic needs such as soap or menstrual pads. Indeed, HRW describes the position of prisoners in North Korea as “worse than animals”.

– North Korea’s pre-trial detention centers are biased, violent, cruel and degrading, Asia’s director Brad Adams said.

– North Koreans live in constant fear. They know that the justice system is based on the presumption of guilt, and the only ways to get out of it are corruption and good relations.

According to the report, the North Korean judiciary relies heavily on pleasing the ruling Communist Party. The 22 prisoners interviewed for it have fled the current leader Kim Jong-unin during the reign.

– If the police manage to “solve” the crime, it will help them move forward in their careers. As soon as I was brought to the station, they started hacking me, Heo Jong-hae said CNN: where.

According to Heo, the situation has only worsened in recent years.

– In prison, we are treated like pigs. I was unable to walk for a week after my arrest because they beat my knees, in turn continued the accused of stealing corn on the cob. Kang Ri-yuk.

Kang’s walk is still laborious, even though almost a decade has passed since his arrest.

Human Rights Watch is urging North Korea to end torture and inhuman and degrading treatment in detention and interrogation centers.

But since North Korea has so far not admitted any abuses, it is hard to believe that it will slam its ears on the remarks of the human rights organization either.