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Originally posted in the Spectator
Shin Dong-hyuk really shouldn’t need defending. The thirty-two year old was born in, and grew up in, the North Korean gulag system. And as he has related in his book Escape from Camp 14, and in public appearances, what he saw on an average day in his childhood constituted more horror than most people will see in their collected nightmares.
At one point he overheard his mother and brother talking about an escape attempt from the highest-security category camp they were in. He informed on them, as he had been educated to do. Subsequently, along with his father, he was forced to watch their execution by prison camp guards. He later escaped the camp – the first prisoner known to have escaped from the highest security category of North Korean prison camps. He escaped by climbing over the body of a friend who had been caught and electrocuted on one of the fences that surrounded the camp. He finally got out of the country – itself a nearly impossible thing to do and much of what little we know about the details of these present day abominations that constitute the North Korean gulag system we know because of Shin’s testimony.