Signs of possible torture were discovered on the face of prominent South Korean activist Kim Young-hwan in a medical examination after he was released from Chinese detention last month. Kim underwent magnetic resonance imaging at Jeonju Samsung Hospital in North Jeolla Province on Wednesday, which found abnormal tissue in the muscle and bone between his eyes and cheekbones. It appeared dark and collapsed in the MRI image.
"This seems to be the result of being struck," said Shim Yong-shik, head of the hospital. "Nerves below the eyes are very sensitive to pain. Kim said he did not suffer blows to the head but was struck repeatedly under his eyes, suggesting that the scars resulted from blows inflicted by experts in torture."
Shim said the skin under Kim's eyes also appeared abnormal. "But in order to verify whether that is a sign of torture, he needs to undergo a thorough medical checkup at a large hospital with state-of-the-art equipment," Shim added.
Forensic experts say the medical test results alone are not enough to prove Kim was tortured. "Four months have passed since his beatings," said one forensic expert. "Even if he suffered tissue damage, the wounds would have disappeared."
Other experts said the sunken areas are too symmetrically balanced around his nose making it difficult to link them to being struck in the face. Kim plans to undergo detailed tests some time next week.