SEOUL, July 1 (UPI) -- North Korea executed 1,382 people between 2000 and 2014 for a broad array of crimes that ranged from anti-state activities to viewing South Korean pornographic material.
The statistics were included in an annual research report from the Korea Institute for National Unification that compiled accounts from 221 North Korean defectors who arrived in South Korea in 2014, South Korean news outlet Newsis reported.
The South Korean researchers said the survey's results challenge North Korea's claims before the U.N. Human Rights Council in 2014 that the state executes prisoners only in extreme cases.
Watching South Korean films and videos and smuggling and trafficking drugs, were cited as examples of non-political crimes that have led to executions.
In the city of Hyesan in Ryanggang province, two university students were executed in 2013 for viewing South Korean pornography. In October of that year, three North Koreans were executed in South Pyongan province for trading in methamphetamines, according to South Korea media outlet No Cut News.
In the period between 2008 and 2014, executions peaked in 2008 and 2009, when 160 and 161 prisoners, respectively, were put to death.
The conditions inside North Korea's brutal re-education camps were a serious problem, according to defectors who served time in the facilities.
A defector who served a long-term sentence in North Korea's Chongori concentration camp said torture, beatings and other violations of human rights occurred daily during his imprisonment.
Around the time of his release, however, the defector told the South Korean researchers the beatings were gradually decreasing, and that the decline or the regulation of punishment was a response to international criticism of North Korean camp conditions.
The North Korean head of state has implemented a policy of releasing prisoners in cases where there is at least room for "1 percent consideration for forgiveness," according to one defector.
Kim's charm offensive is part of his political strategy to show his love for the North Korean people, said interviewees.