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Government’s Moral Responsibility for Death of Professor Choi

Government’s Moral Responsibility for Death of Professor Choi

Posted July. 07, 2004 22:11,   


A court reached a recommendation on Wednesday in a 6.7 billion won compensation lawsuit filed by the family of Choi Chong-kil, a law professor who was allegedly implicated in spying activities for North Korea in European countries in 1973 and died from a suspicious death during the interrogation by the intelligence agency, to urge the government to award the family one billion won by the end of this August.

The Seoul Central District Court expressed on Wednesday that “considering its social significance, the historical and moral responsibility of the government, and the suffering imposed on the family, the court reasonably believes that the government should admit its responsibility for Choi’s death and attempt to reconcile the dispute with the Choi’s family by compensating them with one billion won.”

If neither the family nor the government submits an objection to the court’s recommendation within two weeks, it will be confirmed as a binding ruling.

The court continued, saying, “We have not drawn up legal conclusions concerning whether Choi was murdered by the government and whether negative prescription of the compensation has been terminated. If either party files a formal objection, we will make a ruling after deliberations.”

After the Presidential Truth Commission on Suspicious Deaths concluded in May 2002 that the death of Choi Chong-kil resulted from the abuse of government power against democratic movements, the family filed a compensation lawsuit against the government.

During the proceedings, a former intelligence official testified that “the announcement of Choi’s death by the intelligence agency was fabricated, and Choi never confessed that he was a North Korean spy.” The intelligence agency stated, “We are deeply sorry to the family, irrelevant of the truth of the exact cause of his death.”

Ji-Seong Jeon verso@donga.com