A Korean American missionary who was held captive in North Korea says he suffered sexual abuse and other forms of torture at the hands of his jailors.
Robert Park crossed a frozen river from China into North Korea last Christmas. The 28-year-old said he came to bring God's love and carried a letter calling on the regime to relinquish power. Border guards quickly arrested him.
Park says his interrogators beat and tortured him until he admitted to committing a crime. He added that the injuries he sustained may be permanent.
"The scars and wounds of the things that happened to me in North Korea are too intense," he said. "As a result of what happened to me in North Korea, I've thrown away any kind of personal desire. I will never be able to have a marriage or any kind of relationship."
According to Kang Chol-hwan, who spent 10 years in the communist regime's Yodok concentration camp, such assaults are now "the preferred interrogation tool" of North Korean security agents.
Park also underwent treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
"I struggled with suicide a great deal since I left North Korea," the missionary told The Associated Press during a visit to Seoul this week. "I almost committed suicide. Thankfully my family and friends helped me in America, and they placed me in a hospital."
Park said he has no regrets about entering the country to spread the gospel message.
"My only regret is ... the false confession," Park said. "People start to know how evil North Korea was and they know the confession was a lie. They knew the confession was false."