Go to contents

Suspects Tortured with Water

Posted November. 08, 2002 22:49,   


The prosecution issued its interim report on the death of Cho Chun-hoon, who was beaten to death by the interrogating police officers with the Seoul District Prosecutors` Office. Cho was in custody as a suspect in a homicide case. According to the interim report, one of Cho`s alleged accomplices (last name, Park) was tortured with water.

The Internal Inspection Division of the Highest Public Prosecutors` Office (IID), which has been looking into Cho`s death, announced its interim report on Nov. 8th and disclosed, "Park has argued that he was tortured with water while in custody of the Seoul DA`s Office. He said that, for 10 minutes between the midnight to 1 a.m. on Oct. 26, two officers laid him on the bathroom floor of an interrogation room. Then, the officers put a towel on his face and poured water thereon with a basket. We deem his statement highly reliable."

In the meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission has conducted its own investigation, and found out a 50cm wooden police baton between the mattress and the wooden box of a bed located in the interrogation room where Cho was beaten. Therefore, the IID is trying to figure out whether the baton was used for beating Cho.

The IID has interviewed three material witnesses. All of them testified that they saw Park wearing soaked training clothes. In addition, Park`s defense attorney also said to the extent. Therefore, the IID has reached a temporary conclusion that Park was actually tortured with water.

Thus, provided that its in-depth probe establishes the allegation of "water-torturing," the IID would add one more count of the water-torturing to the complaint filed against prosecutor Hong and the three officers who are behind bars in connection with Cho`s death.

On the other hand, the investigation agents who interrogated Park categorically deny the allegation, and the IID did not discover the basket or towel in the interrogation room, which were alleged used for torturing Park.

The IID also announced that one of Cho`s alleged accomplices, who was also being interrogated, escaped out of the DA`s Office at around 9 p.m. on Oct. 25, taking advantage of the dozing-off of the officer who was watching him.

In the meanwhile, the IID concluded that there has been no statement or evidence indicating that late Cho was tortured with water.

The IID has learned that, in addition to prosecutor Hong and the three officers, 5-6 officers, even though they did not participate in torturing of late Cho, beat Park and other suspects. Thus, it will determine the degree of each one`s role in the beating, and bring a formal charge against one or two of them.

Heeding the surveillance camera in the interrogation room was not in operation during Cho`s interrogation, the Office of Attorney General will soon issue the internal regulations and guidelines as to the operation of the surveillance cameras located in the DA`s offices.

Wi-Yong Jung viyonz@donga.com