A North Korean biochemical weapons scientist has defected to Finland, taking with him gigabytes of information on human experiments that he plans to present to EU parliament.
The expert fled a research centre on the border of China on June 6 via the Philippines, a source from a North Korean human rights group told Yonhap news agency.
“His ostensible reason for defection is that he felt sceptical about his research,” they told Yonhap.
The 47-year-old told the human rights group that he took with him 15 gigabytes of information on human experiments being carried out at the laboratory he was working at.
He will present his information in front of the EU parliament later in July, Yonhap claimed.
Director of the US-based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, Greg Scarlatoiun, told Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat that Lee’s claims sounded believable.
“We have been told similar stories in the past that human experiments are carried out in prison camps,” he explained. Scarlatoiun added that it was likely the data would include evidence that North Korea had been chemical weapons on humans.
Finland’s Foreign Ministry told the Helsingin Samomat that it could not confirm whether Lee had entered the country, or comment on his plans to take evidence to parliament.
Officially, North Korea claims that it does not have chemical weapons. But according to research by the US Korea Institute at SAIS published by 38North – the nation produces 20 different chemicals for use in weapons.
Though obtaining precise figures is difficult, it is thought that North Korea produced 4,500 tonnes of chemical agents in peacetime and 12,000 in wartime.
Lee is not the first defector to make claims of the unethical nature of the country’s testing methods. In December 2014 a former officer of the special forces came forward said how the regime was testing chemical and biological weapons on disabled children and adults.
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