SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea has launched an aggressive campaign seeking to discredit a UN report on human rights abuses in the country, following news that a prominent defector had recanted parts of his testimony.
Shin Dong-hyuk, subject of the bestselling book “Escape from Camp 14”, is a well-known North Korean defector and gave testimony to a UN inquiry that has issued a damning indictment of the North’s rights abuses.
On Sunday, Shin admitted in a post on his Facebook page to having changed parts of his story.
“He is a swindler who had appeared with false name and career, and no more than a parasite,” Ja Song Nam, North Korea’s Ambassador to the United Nations in New York, said in a letter seen by Reuters.
The letter was sent to the UN General Assembly and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the North Koreans asked that it be regarded as an official document.
It repeated North Korea’s long-held position that it does not run political prison camps and said Shin was a “criminal who fled after raping a minor girl who was only 13 years old”.