A civic group in Seoul has released a list of 617 political prisoners held by North Korea in detention camps. The group, the Democracy Network Against North Korean Gulag, said the list released Friday is based on the accounts of North Korean defectors.

A number of prominent personalities are said to be detained by the communist North on political charges, including Pyongyang's former ambassador to Libya, Kim Dae Hun, and the former envoy to Indonesia, Ri Won Jo. Mr. Ri reportedly was sent to a detention camp for criticizing North Korea during talks with his subordinates, while Mr. Kim was punished after a family member defected to South Korea.

North Korean is believed to hold tens of thousands of people in its network of detention camps, where forced labor and torture are common practices.

Some information for the report provided AFP.