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Urgent: Woman in North Korea faces being sent to prison camp with her four-year-old son

Koo Jeong-hwa and family
Koo Jeong-hwa and family © Private

Koo Jeong-hwa (previously identified as Lee Su-jung in China) has been detained since 3 December 2017 in Hoeryeong, North Korea, and a decision on her sentence is expected from the Ministry of State Security in March.

There is a high chance that she will be convicted without a fair trial, and given a life sentence at a political prison camp, where she is at risk of being subjected to forced labour, torture, and other ill-treatment. Horrifically, her 4-year-old son is also at risk of being sent to the prison camp with her.

Koo Jeong-hwa was previously detained with her son and eight other North Koreans in Sinuiju, a city near the North Korean border. The authorities have been in contact with Koo Jeong-hwa’s mother, and claim that she has committed treason by leaving her country – a crime against the state in North Korea.

She is now being held at a detention centre in Hoeryeong City, North Korea. Her young son was originally detained there too, but was sent home after 20 days because the centre said it could not take care of him. When he came home, he was suffering from frostbite on his hands and feet.

Though he is not currently detained with his mother, he is still at risk of being sent to a political prison camp with her after she is sentenced, due to “guilt-by-association”.

We must take action against this cruel treatment of a mother and young child.

Please join our Pocket Protest SMS network and add your name to a letter we are sending to the North Korean authorities, urging them to:

  • Ensure that Koo Jeong-hwa and the other individuals previously detained with her are protected from torture and other ill-treatment, and have regular and unrestricted access to medical treatment on request or as necessary during detention;
  • Release Koo Jeong-hwa and the other individuals previously detained with her, and drop the charges against them unless there is sufficient credible admissible evidence that they have committed an internationally recognizable criminal offense and are promptly tried in proceedings which meet international fair trial standards, without recourse to the death penalty.

Text SAVE + your name to 70505 to add your name, and demand justice for Koo Jeong-hwa and her child in North Korea.