Pyongyang seeks to discredit defector over recanted story

North Korea on Tuesday sought to discredit a prominent North Korean prison camp survivor who recently admitted inaccuracies in parts of his widely read story about horrific abuse in the country of his birth.

Seoul: North Korea on Tuesday sought to discredit a prominent North Korean prison camp survivor who recently admitted inaccuracies in parts of his widely read story about horrific abuse in the country of his birth.

The public backtracking by Shin Dong-Hyuk proves that the entirety of his description of life in a North Korean prison camp was "scripted by (his) masters," said a column on Pyongyang's government-run Uriminzokkiri website.

The website also said survivor reports published in a UN investigation into Pyongyang's human rights abuses must be "nullified" as they depended on "human scum" such as Shin.

The attack on Shin isn't surprising as Pyongyang harshly criticised him even before his recent retraction of some details in the 2012 book, "Escape from Camp 14."

But the new developments feed fears among rights groups and other defectors in South Korea that a push to hold North Korea accountable for its alleged abuse could stall.

Shin's earlier account helped drive international efforts to hold Pyongyang accountable for what's widely regarded as one of the world's worst human rights records.

The book's author Blaine Harden said in a statement on his website over the weekend that Shin had changed the dates and places of some events described in the book, although he stuck to the most horrific elements about torture and imprisonment.

Multiple attempts to contact Shin today were unsuccessful.

Shin's story originally drew widespread attention because he said he had lived in a high-security political prison camp in North Korea from his birth until his escape over an electrified fence in 2005, when he was in his early 20s.

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