04/19/2006, 00.00
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Week of prayer for religious freedom in North Korea

The initiative was launched by the North Korea Freedom Coalition and backed by Open Doors, an NGO that published the evidence of a woman who survived the Stalinist regime of 'Dear Leader' Kim Jong-il.

Santa Ana (AsiaNews) – The North Korea Freedom Coalition has launched a world-wide week of prayers in favour of religious freedom in the country ruled by the Stalinist regime of Kim Jong-il. The initiative will run from April 22 to the 30. Open Doors, a US-based Christian NGO, is backing the event and has published the accounts of a survivor of North Korea's political prison camps. In doing so it is asking the world to join the international efforts to put a stop to atrocities.

In her tale, Christian survivor Soon Ok Lee calls the Pyongyang regime the worst evil in the world.

"The prison camp that I was sent to is in Kae-Chon, in the southern province of Pyung-Yang," she writes. "There are 6000 plus prisoners in there: 4000 males and 2000 females. Most of the prisoners are there for ridiculous reasons".

"Some are caught while travelling in places they didn't have the permits to go to in search of food. Some are mothers, who had complained that their children were starving to death . . . they wondered 'why do I have to die like this? Why can't I eat till I'm full, like people in other countries . . .' and people with these kinds of thoughts were considered to have bad ideology."

Ms Soon adds that if "the mother is pregnant, according to the North Korean law that says that a criminal's seed must be scorched up to its third generation, they abort the baby. If somehow the baby survives and is born, they strangle the baby by stepping on them in front of its own mother."

Furthermore, she "also witnessed many human experiments. They said it was pointless to test weapons and chemicals on animals because they were created to target their enemies—other human beings."

"I also saw many Christians in the camp. Because of their belief in God, and because they sang hymns in the camps, they were stepped on until death. If they didn't deny God, they were often times" killed in atrocious ways.

She saw methods of torture and death that she could not describe but cannot forget. Never the less, she writes because "I went through many physical tortures, I still have many after-affects left on my body. The right side of my face is still a little distorted, the left half of my mouth is crooked and the whole left half of my teeth were crushed. I live with a lot of physical pain on my body and it's difficult to get through each day. But there are still many people going through tortures and human experiments even at this very moment."

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