North Korea human rights activist Kim Young Hwan and three other men arrested in March are approaching the end of their second month in Chinese Ministry of State Security detention in Liaoning Province, and as information on the conditions of their detention spread, international anger is starting to grow.
Yesterday, UK-based NGO Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) joined the chorus of concern, releasing a statement calling for Kim’s release
“So far little explanation has been given for the arrest of Mr. Kim and his colleagues, although the South Korean Foreign Ministry was told that they had been charged with ‘crimes of endangering national security’,” the statement points out. “As the group has been denied access to consul officials or a lawyer, it has been difficult to assess the exact reason for their arrest.”
Citing Kim’s transfer to Dandong rather than Shenyang in addition to the complete absence of legal counsel and consular access, CSW Advocacy Director Andrew Johnson is cited in the statement as pointing to the possibility of North Korean involvement in his detention.
“CSW calls for the unconditional and immediate release of Kim Young Hwan and his colleagues. Their detention, without access to legal or consular assistance, is in violation of international law, and the charges against them are vague and without basis,” he comments. “It is clear that they are being targeted because of their human rights activism in North Korea."