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Retrial of Treason Case Involving Kim Dae Jung

Posted November. 21, 2002 22:49,   


Yesterday, the Criminal Division 5 of the Seoul High Court held the retrial for 20 people who were convicted of treason in 1980. They were convicted by the court martial in 1980 as co-conspirators of Kim Dae Jung, who was also convicted of treason at that time.

During the hearing, the prosecutors did not conduct any examination. Right after the cross-examination by the defense attorney, the court announced the date of the ruling.

On hand on the courtroom as defendants were 12 people including Han Hwan-sang (former vice premier), Han Seung-hun (former head of the Board of Audit and Inspection of Korea), Lee Moon-young (professor of Kyunggi Univ.), Rep. Lee Hae-chan of New Millennium Party, Song Kee-won (novelist), and Lee Ho-chul. For the five people who are already dead, their family members attended instead.

The court is expected to render its ruling as soon as the examination is wrapped up for the defendants who were absent at the hearing, such as Rep. Kim Sang-hyun, Rep Sul Hoon and late journalist Song Gun-ho.

Choi Jae-chun, who represents the defendants, said, "History has honored the Kwangju Democratic Movement. Nonetheless, this treason case has not been treated the way it deserves to be. That is why we decided to open a retrial for this case. This trial, we hope, will serve an opportunity to straighten out the distorted part of the history about the defendants."

Previously on Oct. 12th, the same court acquitted 6 other defendants, who were convicted of the same treason charge for which the current retrial is being held. Among the acquitted were Han Hwa-kap, the leader of the MDP and Rep. Kim Hong-il. Finding them not guilty of treason, the court held, "The conducts of these defendants at that time did not constitute acts of treason. The defendants acted to defense themselves, a right guaranteed under the Constitution. The court found that the defendants acted so in order to foil the military coup."

Jin-Kyun Kil leon@donga.com