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Executed Prisoners Vindicated At Last

Posted January. 24, 2007 06:20,   


The late Woo Hong-seon and seven others involved in the Committee to Reestablish Inminhyeokmyeongdang (a People’s Revolution Party, abbreviation: Inhyeokdang) case, whose death sentences were executed 18 hours after a final judgment by the Supreme Court on such charges as the violation of presidential emergency measures in 1975, recovered their legal honor by being vindicated 32 years postmortem.

For the judicature which was left with the flaw of having committed a “judiciary murder” while being subordinated to the political powers that be, this vindication is a correction of its own faults in the past.

At the public retrial for the Inhyeokdang case on January 23, the Criminal Case Counsel of Seoul District Court found the eight persons, including Woo, who were indicted on charges of violating the presidential emergency measure, the National Security Law, inciting revolt, and violations of the Anti Communism Law, to be innocent.

The judiciary elucidated in a decision statement, saying, “According to the defendant’s protocol of examination of Woo and others drafted during the investigation procedures by the police and the prosecution at that time, they were arrested even before the warrants were issued and were tortured using water and electricity. The testimonies were admittedly fabricated under severe torture, and therefore do not have legitimacy as evidence.”

Regarding the National Democratic Youths’ and Students’ Association (Mincheonghaknyeon), the pan-national body consisting of students which was organized by Yeo Jeong-nam under guidance of Seo Do-won and Hah Jae-wan, the judiciary commented, “The crime of incitement cannot be acknowledged since there is no evidence that the organization was fomenting a rebellion against the nation or causing disorder.”

Regarding the charge of violating the presidential emergency measure, an acquittal was decided without adjudicating guilt or innocence on the basis that the case lost validity after the Yusin regime, and the sentence was abolished by the abrogation of the code.

However, the judiciary said, “Of the charges against Yeo, the charge of drafting a national salvation statement against despotism (the violation of the Anti-Communism Law) was assimilated in the Inhyeokdang case while under examination in the Daegu District Court, and was not a reason for a retrial” and said that 10 months’ imprisonment and two years of probation would be an appropriate penalty.

On the adjudication of innocence that day, the prosecution said, “We will decide whether to appeal or not after reviewing the logic of the case.”