NK defector apologizes for inaccuracy in his story

January 18, 2015
Shin Dong-hyuk (Courtesy of Human Rights Watch)

Shin Dong-hyuk (Courtesy of Human Rights Watch)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — North Korean defector and human rights activist Shin Dong-hyuk said Sunday he was “very sorry” for having altered certain details in a book about his former life at a notorious prison camp in the secluded country.

“To those who have supported me, trusted me and believed in me all this time, I am so very grateful and at the same time so very sorry to each and every single one of you,” Shin said via a posting on his Facebook page.

Shin, 32, hinted that he “may or may not be able to continue in (his) work and efforts in trying to eliminate the political prison camps and bring justice to the oppressed.”

The U.S. daily Washington Post reported Saturday that Shin had admitted to Blaine Harden, who authored the book “Escape from Camp 14,” that he had lied about some of the timeline and locations of his survival in the gulags.

Although he does not specify in the Facebook posting about which parts of his story had been modified, Shin said he had “forever wanted to conceal and hide part of (his) past.”

Since his escape from the communist regime in 2005, Shin has been a vocal critic of North Korea, disclosing his own experiences of brutal torture and starvation in Camp 14, a notorious political prison located north of Pyongyang.

In the process, he was met with strong opposition from North Korea, which tried to dismiss what has been revealed about the country’s human rights violations and even released a video showing his father testifying that the younger Shin had never lived in a political prison camp.

Shin urged others to continue their fight against the ongoing human rights violations in North Korea.

“On our behalf you must continue to spread what you know. The world still needs to know of the horrendous and unspeakable horrors that are taking place,” he said.