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Trials of Kim Sun-dong, Lee Seok-ki and Jang Song Thaek

Posted January. 28, 2014 06:12,   


Seoul High Court sentenced Monday Rep. Kim Sun-dong of opposition Unified Progressive Party for one year in jail and two years of probation at the second trial, the same as first trial. He was indicted for shooting of tear gas at the National Assembly`s plenary session hall. At a written judgment, the justice department said, "National Assembly is a place to review bills and policies through compromise based on conversation and persuasion," adding, "The act of interfering proceedings with violence is a betrayal to authority as parliament member and the public`s trust."

Though Kim claimed, "This ruling is distorted just like that of independence fighters under Japanese colony, which called them bandits," who on earth would show empathy to his words? For cases sentenced to less than 10 years in jail, Supreme Court considers just legal principles, not sentence years. In this regard, there is low possibility of the original trial being changed. If this ruling is confirmed at Supreme Court, Kim will lose his position as lawmaker. However, it took so too much time to finalize the very trial of the incident, which the accused had interfered with proceedings with violence to block the passage of the ratification of FTA in November 2011. After remaining in office in the 18th National Assembly when he committed the wrongdoings, Kim will be exercising his authority for more than half of the incumbent 19th parliament.

The same day, the 43rd trial was held for Unified Progressive Party Rep. Lee Seok-ki in Suwon High Court against his alleged conspiracy of rebellion. For almost two hours, Lee kept silent to the prosecutor`s questioning. The justice department started the trial on November 12 last year and made focused hearings for two and a half months, including nighttime hearings. Various evidences, including the tape recording of May meeting, were put forward, but Lee and his lawyers constantly raised objections and were criticized for delaying the trial. Some in the legal world say they are conducting a typical legal struggle by taking court as stage for political propaganda.

Jang Song Thaek, who had been considered second most powerful official in North Korea, was sentenced to death through just one trial, which took form of reading statement with even unclear suspicion. He was immediately executed in a horrific manner. Free democracy`s strength in legal order is that the accused’s defense rights are guaranteed and he or she has the freedom to fight for truth. However, if the court is dragged on by abusing the very system to delay trials, this is equal to delaying the realization of justice and delayed justice realization could increase distrust in judiciary.