North Korea is holding more than 138,000 people in its detention facilities across the country, a private organization on North Korean human rights said Wednesday.
The Database Center for North Korean Human Rights said about 130,500 people are being detained in five harsh political prison camps while the others are languishing in at least 182 ordinary detention centers.
It also reported serious violations of human rights in all facilities along with inadequate nutrition and poor sanitary conditions.
The findings, based on previous data and new interviews of more than 210 North Korean defectors in South Korea, are the latest reminder of human rights abuses in the North.
In May, Amnesty International, a London-based rights group, said North Korea was holding thousands of political prisoners in at least six facilities where they face extrajudicial executions, torture and forced labor.
North Korea has denied the accusations of rights abuses, calling them a U.S.-led attempt to topple its regime. (Yonhap News)