Deported defector 'kills himself' in his prison cell
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, 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."
Mr Hyun is said to have taken leave from his job "because he was showing signs of anxiety over his research projects".
"Suddenly, he visited relatives near the border without letting his family know and without carrying valid documents for travel. And when he learned the authorities were looking for him, he simply disappeared."
Reports suggested Mr Hyun had attempted to join up with other defectors and 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 surge in deportations back to the North from China.