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Freedom Collection

Interviews with Shin Dong-hyuk

Interviewed March 4, 2024

According to the South Korean government, there are 5 political prison camps in operation, with an estimated 154,000 inmates incarcerated.

Unofficially, according to other sources, there are 6 prison camps and up to an estimated 200,000 inmates in these prison camps.

There is no way to fully describe what a normal day would be like in these prison camps, because the reality is so much worse.

Personally, I cannot communicate or describe the situation in these prison camps. For many people, it would be hard to describe.

The one word I would use to describe these prison camps is “hell.”

After being born and living in the prison camp, I never thought to myself or wondered why I was born, or why I had to live in this world, [or about] the situation around me. There was no curiosity on my part.

The earliest things I remember were that I saw prisoners in prison uniforms and prison officials who were carrying rifles. That was what I knew of my life. There was no curiosity, wondering or questioning my existence.