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Supreme Court Holds Firm On Position Towards Hanchongryun

Supreme Court Holds Firm On Position Towards Hanchongryun

Posted May. 13, 2003 22:19,   


The Supreme Court of Korea ruled that the 10th Hanchongryun, Union of the General Students Association, is still an insurgency group despite modification of part of its platform.

More heated debate will ensue over the group makeup and immunity of its members at large. The 11th Hanchongryun, which was launched this year, holds a much "softer" position toward communism. Thus, it is doubtful whether the judicial branch will continue to insist on the latest ruling.

Division 1 of the Supreme Court sustained yesterday the ruling of a lower court sentencing the 10th president of Hanchongryun Kim Hhyun-joo to two years in prison. Kim was originally indicted on violation of the National Security Act.

The court maintained that "the 10th Hanchongryun changed its platform to a more moderate position. This court, however, finds the move necessitated by the circumstances, or, alternatively, a move that was conceived to secure more freedom in activities through recognition of its legitimacy. Therefore, the petitioner`s argument does not warrant the conclusion that its nature has changed fundamentally."

Last September the 10th body revised its platform in such a way as to abort advocacy for the North Korean regime`s ideas concerning reunification.

The court also held that "looking into the various documents of the 10th body, it was found that it still defined our society as a colony of the United States, and aimed at toppling the U.S. and its conservatives, while also strengthening the communist path towards reunification. It directed its members to advocate for withdrawal of U.S. forces from Korea, a treaty between North Korea and the Untied States, abolition of the National Security Act, and general struggle across the nation. All these facts point this court to the conclusion that the 10th body is no different from its predecessors."

The court ruled, "The directors of the 10th Hanchongryun are found to have maintained close ties with other communist groups in North Korea."

Kim was first arrested last June for inducing antigovernment activities and leading them on over 10 occasions. The courts sentenced him to two years in prison and fined him 2 million won.

Wi-Yong Jung viyonz@donga.com