Insights into North Korean treatment of Australian missionary John Short
After his release from North Korea, 75-year-old Australian missionary John Short reported that he was interrogated for four hours a day and kept under 24-hour guard during his 13 days in North Korean captivity.
“There were two-hour sessions each morning, which were repeated again in the afternoons,” he said.
He said he “openly and honestly” admitted his crime as worded in the indictment: that he distributed Bible tracts with the purpose of making North Koreans become Christians.
“I strongly protested that I was not a spy, nor working with any South Korean organizations nor was I hostile to the DPRK,” he wrote, referring to North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Short said in a statement to Australian Associated Press on Wednesday that recounting Biblical scriptures helped him endure the “long and grueling investigation.”
He said he was told that he faced 15 years in prison for distributing religious pamphlets at a Buddhist temple and on a crowded train.
“I confessed that I had knowingly broken the law in what I believed is my God-directed duty and as I do in every place and country I visit,” Short said.
Short, an enthusiastic walker, said his confinement in a room in Pyongyang under constant guard was stressful. “This I found to be most painful physically as an active senior person,” he said. “I missed my freedom to walk very much.”