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Slain Officers` Families to File Another Appeal

Posted March. 04, 2009 07:43,   


The surviving families of seven police officers killed in student protests at Busan’s Dongeui University in 1989 are considering filing another appeal to the Constitutional Court.

They seek to overturn a 2002 court decision that named several students involved in the protests as pro-democracy figures.

The group of families said yesterday, “If the revised bill on restoring the reputation and compensation for those involved in the democratic movement proposed by the ruling Grand National Party lawmaker Chun Yu-ok passes the National Assembly, we will file a constitutional appeal after gathering the opinions of injured policemen.”

The group filed an appeal to the court in June 2002 protesting the decision by the Commission for Democratization Movement Activists` Honor-restoration and Compensation to recognize 46 student demonstrators as pro-democracy figures.

The court dismissed the case, however.

The seven police officers were killed after being trapped in a fire while handling a demonstration at the university. Forty-six student demonstrators were later convicted of arson for starting the fire.

The court said, “The bereaved families were not the people whose character and dignity were infringed by the decision of the commission.”

Justices of the Constitutional Court, however, later indicated that the ruling would have been different had injured officers submitted the appeal. So the bereaved family group will file another appeal with injured policemen.

They decided to submit the appeal after the revised bill passes the Assembly to gauge public opinion.

Ten officers suffered serious burns, and seven other officers and three riot guards got other injuries. Two of the seven policemen have retired while the other five are still working.

Injured policemen who maintain contact with the group said they will join the appeal.

“I think it’s much better to file a constitutional appeal after the revised bill passes the Assembly,” said the president of the bereaved family group Jeong Yoo-hwan.

“As several of the injured policemen are still working, they might be reluctant to make an appeal, but for the sake of rule of law, democracy and the reputation of police, we will bring this case to court again.”