Korean-American Activist Still Suffering from Torture

      February 28, 2011 09:43

      Robert Park

      The evangelical activist Robert Park, who was detained for 43 days in North Korea, still suffers the aftereffects of the torture in the communist country and has checked himself back into hospital.

      Jo Sung-rae of Pax Koreana, an evangelical group, said Park (30) was tortured brutally in North Korea and is hospitalized again due to mental suffering. Park on Christmas Day 2009 crossed the border from China to North Korea carrying a Bible and a letter to North Korea leader Kim Jong-il. He was released on Feb. 5, 2010.

      Park underwent treatment at a mental hospital in Arizona and came back to Seoul in September last year. Since then he has led prayer meetings and other human rights activities to help North Koreans, but left for the U.S. on Feb. 1 when his mental illness got worse.

      He gave up plans to speak at an exhibition about North Korea's political prison camps at Handong Global University on Feb. 6 and attend a prayer rally scheduled at City Hall on March 1. Freedom and Life for All North Koreans, the organization he heads, said it will instead show a video showing him “when he was in better condition."

      The Washington Post reported early this month Park "hasn't had a haircut since his release, in part because he now feels uncomfortable whenever strangers touch him." People close to him suspect that "Park was administered a brain-scrambling cocktail of drugs that has left him paranoid, sometimes angry," according to the daily.

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