North Korean nuclear scientist deported by China 'commits suicide in prison hours before interrogation' 

North Korean nuclear scientist deported by China 'commits suicide in prison hours before interrogation' A North Korean nuclear scientist deported back to his home country after defecting to China has reportedly committed suicide in his prison cell hours before he was due to be interrogated. The defector, who is in his 50s, was a lead researcher in the physics centre of the State Academy of Sciences in Pyongyang. He was identified by Radio Free Asia as Hyun Cheol-huh, although it is not known if this was his real name. A source in North Hamgyong province told RFA that he was forced back on November 17 and placed in solitary confinement at the state security department in Sinuiju city, where he consumed poison. “He died before he could be questioned about the reasons for his escape, who had helped him and what his route had been,” he said. Mr Hyun is said to have taken leave from his job “because he was showing signs of anxiety over his research projects,” added the source. “Suddenly, he visited relatives near the border without letting his family know and without carrying valid documents for travel. And when he learned that the authorities were looking for him, he simply disappeared.” Reports have suggested that Mr Hyun had attempted to join up with other defectors and that the Chinese were unaware of his true identity when they were tipped off by North Korean intelligence. Despite building evidence of human rights atrocities, there has been a reported surge in deportations back to the North from China, the most common escape route for defectors. On Friday the Daily NK reported that North Korean border forces have been ordered shoot defectors trying to escape, even if they have already entered Chinese territory, or face the firing squad themselves. The crackdown followed the high profile defection of Oh Chong-song, a young soldier whose daring dash for freedom was caught on camera and broadcast around the world. The orders state that “the entire border region should now be considered the front-line of defence” and be turned into an “impenetrable fortress.” The draconian measures come at great human cost. Last month North Korean defector, Taewon Lee, 29, made a heartbroken plea for international help to save his wife and young child from being deported back after they were caught by the Chinese en route to join him in Seoul. Despite desperately lobbying South Korea’s foreign ministry for help, he discovered late last month that they had been forced back to the North. Little is known of their fate, but in an earlier interview with the Telegraph, Mr Lee was clear about his fears for their wellbeing if they were returned. “They will definitely be sent to a prison camp. In the worst case, they will be killed,” he said.



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