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Court Says Escort Order Could Be Unconstitutional

Posted October. 17, 2007 03:20,   


The Court ruled that the “escort order system” by the Presidential Truth Commission on Suspicious Deaths is likely to be unconstitutional.

Seoul District Court Judge Park Jin-hwan dismissed a lawsuit against Ahn Eung-mo, 77, who was fined 10 million won for violating an escort order by the commission on Tuesday.

As a result of the ruling, the “escort order system” of other institutions initiated by the Roh administration is expected to become invalid.

“The Constitution stipulates that arrests require a court warrant issued by a judge, except in special cases. The Presidential Truth Commission on Suspicious Deaths is likely to be unconstitutional,” Park said. ”Issuing an escort order to a witness for an investigation on suspicious deaths suppresses a witness’ freedom; therefore, such an order should be regarded as an ‘arrest or detention’ under Constitution Article 12 Section 3. A judge’s warrant is required in this case as well.”

In April 2004, the commission required Ahn, a former intelligence agency official, to be present at an investigation in the suspicious death case of Lee Cheol-gyu, a college student, in 1989. However, Ahn refused to attend the investigation three times in a row.

In response, under Article 22 of the Finding Truth in Suspicious Deaths Act, the commission issued an escort order on behalf of the chairman, and after Ahn’s refusal, it fined him 10 million won.