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N. Korea gassing prisoners, BBC says

LONDON - A program made by Britain's BBC says North Korea is killing political prisoners in experimental gas chambers and testing new chemical weapons on women and children.

Titled ``Access to Evil,'', the program features an official North Korean document that says political prisoners are used to test new chemical weapons.

In a statement, the BBC said the documentary included comments by Kwon Hyuk, a name given to a former military attache at the North Korean Embassy in Beijing and chief of management at Prison Camp 22.

Using a drawing, he describes a gas chamber and the victims he says he saw at the prison in the northeast of the secretive communist state, near the Russian border.

``I witnessed a whole family being tested on suffocating gas and dying in the gas chamber. The parents, son, and a daughter. The parents were vomiting and dying, but 'til the very last moment they tried to save kids by doing mouth-to-mouth breathing,'' he said.

``Normally, a family sticks together [in the gas chamber] ... and individual prisoners stand separately around the corners. Scientists observe the entire process from above, through the glass.''

Asked how he felt about the children, he said: ``It would be a total lie for me to say I felt sympathetic about the children dying such a painful death. Under the society and the regime I was in at the time, I only felt that they were the enemies.

``So I felt no sympathy or pity for them at all.''

The documentary is for the BBC's ``This World'' series.

North Korean officials in London were unavailable to comment. BBC journalist Olenka Frenkiel said she had three independent confirmations that Kwon Hyuk was genuine.

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