North Korean defector ‘raped by South Korean intelligence officers’

Chiara Giordano
North Korean women pictured picking crops. More than 72 per cent of the 33,000 North Korean defectors in South Korea are women: iStock

A North Korea defector was allegedly forced to have abortions after being raped by two South Korean intelligence officials.

The alleged victim was reportedly raped by a lieutenant colonel and a master sergeant serving in South Korea’s defence intelligence command while she was in their custody.

As part of their work, the command investigates people who have defected from North Korea to South Korea and gathers intelligence.

According to the Good Lawyers law firm, the woman was first raped while she was unconscious from drinking alcohol, the BBC reports.

The master sergeant is accused of raping the woman dozens of times, while the lieutenant colonel is alleged to have raped her once after she reported what was happening to her, according to The Korean Herald.

The woman’s lawyers claim she was forced to have an abortion on two occasions.

Both men have been suspended from duty while an investigation is carried out.

The case has been sent by the defence ministry’s criminal investigation command to the military prosecution.

A spokesperson for the South Korean defence ministry told the BBC that the officials would be “appropriately handled depending on the investigation results”.

Jeon Su-mi, the woman’s lawyer from Good Lawyers, told The Korea Herald: “The victim is a North Korean defector and has no family members here and did not have anyone to help her.

“Also, the victim was intimidated by the DIC officers who knew a lot about her. So it was almost impossible for her to resist their assaults.”

Ms Jeon filed a lawsuit against both men on the woman’s behalf on Wednesday.

The vast majority of North Korean defectors in South Korea are women.

An unnamed human rights activist told BBC Korea that many of these defectors have already experienced sexual violence in China before arriving in South Korea.

A report published by human rights organisation Korea Future Initiative in May alleged that tens of thousands of North Korean women and girls are trafficked into China, where they are sold into the sex trade.

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