Document - South Korea: Arrests of political prisoners during 1991
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1) INTRODUCTION 1
2) LAWS USED TO DETAIN POLITICAL PRISONERS 1
The National Security Law 1
The Law on Assemblies and Demonstrations 2
The Labour Dispute Mediation Act 2
3) POMMINNYON ARRESTS 3
4) IMPRISONED ARTISTS 6
The arrests of Chong Son-hee, Choi Ik-kyun and Oh Chin-hee 6
The arrests of Cha Il-hwan, Park Yong-kyun and Lee Chin-woo 8
The case of Park In-bae 8
5) ARRESTS OF RESEARCH STUDENTS 9
6) ARRESTS RELATING TO DEMONSTRATIONS IN MAY AND JUNE 11
The Death of Kang Kyung-dae 11
Arrests of Dissident Leaders 11
The Arrest of Kang Ki-hun 13
The Arrest of Suh Jun-shik 13
7) IMPRISONED TRADE UNIONISTS 14
Arrests for Third Party Intervention 14
The Death of Park Chang-su 16
The Arrests of Chonkyojo Members 16
The Arrest of Choi Jae-ho 18
8) ARRESTS OF MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES 18
9) FURTHER ARRESTS OF MEMBERS OF SANOMAENG 19
The case of Park Noh-hae 19
@ARRESTS OF POLITICAL PRISONERS DURING 1991
Amnesty International is concerned about some 50 political prisoners arrested during 1991. It considers many of them to be prisoners of conscience, detained for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and association. Amnesty International is asking for the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience, and is seeking further information about others whom it believes may be prisoners of conscience.
This document gives a brief outline of some of these 1991 arrests and a statement of Amnesty International's concern in each case.
Information about other prisoners of concern to Amnesty International arrested in previous years can be found in the document South Korea: Prisoners Held for National Security Offences (ASA 25/25/91).
2) LAWS USED TO DETAIN POLITICAL PRISONERS
The National Security Law
The National Security Law prohibits anti-state activities and contacts with anti-state organizations. During 1991 the National Security Law was widely used to imprison people who met North Koreans or alleged North Korean agents abroad without government authorization, people who established or belonged to an alleged anti-state organization, and people accused of praising or benefiting North Korea.
On 10 May 1991 the ruling Democratic Liberal Party unilaterally passed amendments to the National Security Law, in spite of protests from opposition National Assembly members. Talks on amending the law had been held among representatives of the main political parties for more than two years without reaching agreement. Under the new law "anti-state organizations" include only groups with a "command and control system which aim to disturb the state". Contacts with communist organizations are now permitted, with the exception of those allegedly linked to North Korea. The offence of "praising, encouraging or showing sympathy" to North Korea will be punishable only when committed "with the knowledge that it will endanger national security and survival of the free and democratic basic order". The offence of espionage was redefined. Amnesty International welcomed the amendments in so far as they define offences more precisely but expressed concern that the law will continue to allow for the imprisonment of people who support North Korean ideology and seek to contact North Koreans without government permission.
The Law on Assemblies and Demonstrations
The Law on Assemblies and Demonstrations authorizes anti-government demonstrations so long as public order and security are protected. Under the law, those who are planning to hold a demonstration must obtain prior permission from the police at least 48 hours beforehand. Permission to hold a demonstration may be denied if it would be a direct threat to the public peace. During 1991 many trade union and dissident leaders were imprisoned under the Law on Assemblies and Demonstrations for organizing demonstrations without obtaining police approval. Some trade union and dissident groups said that their applications were irrelevant because they are never granted permission to hold demonstrations, apparently because of political considerations.
The Labour Dispute Mediation Act
Article 13(2) of the Labour Dispute Mediation Act prohibits a third party, that is somebody who has no immediate connection with a workplace where a dispute is taking place, from intervening in the dispute. In March 1990 President Roh Tae-woo vetoed an amendment of the law passed by the National Assembly to delete this provision. In January 1990 the Constitutional Court ruled that the ban on third party intervention was not unconstitutional. The authorities regard as third party intervention the distribution of leaflets and other documents giving advice to trade union members about their labour rights and about the conduct of wage negotiations. During 1991 a number of trade union leaders where charged with third party intervention in labour disputes.
3) POMMINNYON ARRESTS
The South-North Exchange and Cooperation Law, enacted in 1990, enables South Koreans to apply to the government for permission to meet with North Koreans. In 1991 there were many contacts between citizens of North and South Korea. For example, in February the two countries formed unified sports teams to compete in the World Table Tennis Championships in April and the World Youth Soccer Championships in June. Academics, politicians, members of the religious community, students, scientists and others from both countries were permitted to meet. However, the South Korean authorities continued to ban unauthorized contacts and insisted that it be the only channel to discuss reunification. Amnesty International is calling for the release of 12 members or alleged members of Pomminnyon (Pan-National Alliance for Reunification of Korea) who it believes to have been imprisoned for the peaceful exercise of their freedom of expression and association, and for having unauthorized contacts with North Koreans, in some cases only indirectly.
Pomminnyon was inaugurated in Berlin in November 1990. Its objectives include the achievement of peaceful national reunification by 1995, independence and national unity. The organization aimed to establish a headquarters for the organization in North and South Korea in 1991, to replace the current armistice (signed in 1953 at the end of the Korean War) by a peace agreement, to secure the withdrawal of foreign (US) troops from South Korea, the abolition of the National Security Law and free travel between North and South Korea.
Three staff members of Chonminnyon (National Democratic Alliance of Korea), Cho Song-woo, Lee Hae-hak and Reverend Cho Yong-sul, travelled to the inaugural meeting of Pomminnyon in Berlin where they met a North Korean official and Koreans from other countries. The three had applied to the South Korean authorities for permission to attend the meeting but this had been denied. They were arrested at Seoul's Kimpo International Airport on 30 November 1990 as they returned from Berlin and were charged under the National Security Law with making unauthorized contact with North Korean officials. In May 1991 Cho Song-woo and Lee Hae-hak were sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment. Reverend Cho Yong-sul, aged 70, was given a suspended sentence of one year's imprisonment and released. Amnesty International has adopted Cho Song-woo and Lee Hae-hak as prisoners of conscience and is calling for their release.
On 25 January 1991 the North Korean headquarters of Pomminnyon was established. In South Korea a preparatory committee was organized on 23 January 1991 at Hyang Rin church in Seoul. Over 80 committee members attended this meeting which decided to form the South Korean headquarters of Pomminnyon and to organize a pan-national rally in August 1991 in Seoul. On 24 January two of the preparatory committee's leading members, Lee Chang-bok and Kim Hi-taek, both staff members of Chonminnyon, were arrested and charged under the National Security Law with forming an anti-state organization and making illegal contact with North Koreans. In July 1991 Lee Chang-bok and Kim Hi-taek were each sentenced to two-and-a-half years' imprisonment. Kwon Hyong-taek, also a member of Pomminnyon's preparatory committee, was arrested on 19 April 1991 on the same charges. He was later sentenced to one-and-a-half years' imprisonment. Amnesty International has adopted Lee Chang-bok, Kim Hi-taek and Kwon Hyong-taek as prisoners of conscience and is calling for their release.
Reverend Hong Keun-soo, 54-year-old pastor of Hyang Rin Presbyterian Church in Seoul, was arrested on 20 February 1991. He was accused of praising North Korea in his sermons, of having spoken in favour of reunification during a television debate on KBS (Korea Broadcasting System) in September 1988, and of publishing a collection of his writings in 1989 which included an article about Reverend Hong Dong-keun, a lecturer in Christianity at Kim Il-sung University in North Korea. The authorities also accused Reverend Hong Keun-soo of planning to travel to Panmunjom and for his involvement in the establishment of the South Korean headquarters of Pomminnyon. In August 1991 Reverend Hong Keun-soo was sentenced to two years' imprisonment.
The Chairperson of Pomminnyon's preparatory committee, Reverend Moon Ik-hwan, was re-arrested on 6 June 1991. Moon Ik-hwan, a 72-year-old Presbyterian Minister, had been arrested in April 1989 for making an unauthorized visit to North Korea and meeting North Korean government officials. He was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment but was released in October 1990 on grounds of ill-health.
The authorities are reported to have re-arrested Reverend Moon Ik-hwan because he violated the terms of his parole by again becoming involved in political activities. Since his release, Reverend Moon Ik-hwan is reported to have delivered speeches at least 100 meetings of students and dissidents and to have participated in other political
activities. State prosecutors are reported to have warned Reverend Moon Ik-hwan
on several occasions that he might be reimprisoned if he did not curtail his activities. On 6 June Reverend Moon Ik-hwan was rearrested on the grounds that he had violated the terms of his parole by engaging in political activities and that his health had improved. Amnesty International has readopted Reverend Moon Ik-hwan as a prisoner of conscience and is calling for his release.
From 29 to 30 June 1991 a second Pomminnyon meeting was held in Berlin. Topics of discussion at this meeting included the organization of a pan-national conference to be held in Seoul around 15 August (National Liberation Day). Two student delegates belonging to Chondaehyop (National Council of Student Representatives) made an unauthorized visit to Berlin to attend this meeting. On the evening of 30 June the Pomminnyon headquarters in Berlin are reported to have sent a facsimile message to Chonminnyon with the request that it be forwarded to Chondaehyop. The message was intercepted by the authorities and two staff members of Chonminnyon, Kim Hyong-min and Chung Yoon-so, who were working in the office were arrested and charged under the National Security Law for being in communication with an anti-state organization.
On 8 July 1991 two other members of Pomminnyon's preparatory committee, Kim Kwe-sang and Lee Kwan-bok, were arrested on the grounds that they had been involved in the organization of the planned pan-national conference. These four prisoners are currently on trial. Amnesty International has adopted them as prisoners of conscience and is calling for their release.
Park Soon-kyung, a 68-year-old theologian was arrested on 13 August 1991 for involvement in the formation of the South Korean headquarters of Pomminnyon. Park Soon-kyung is also accused of delivering a lecture at a Christian meeting in Japan in which she is reported to have made a comparison between the Juche ideology of North Korea and Christian theology and to have said that it is necessary for South Koreans to understand the Juche ideology in order to bring about reunification between the two countries.
4) IMPRISONED ARTISTS
The arrests of Chong Son-hee, Choi Ik-kyun and Oh Chin-hee
On 18 and 19 March 1991 eleven members of Somiryon were arrested and charged under the National Security Law with activities benefiting North Korea. In July three of them, Chong Son-hee, Choi Ik-kyun and Oh Chin-hee, were given sentences of imprisonment ranging from eighteen months to two years; the others were given shorter sentences and have now been released. Amnesty International believes that Chong Son-hee, Choi Ik-kyun and Oh Chin-hee have been detained in violation of their rights to freedom of expression and association and is calling for their release.
Somiryon is affiliated to the National Minjung Arts Movement (Minmiryon). The aims of these artists' groups is to practice and promote realism in art. The works of their members depict scenes of the life of ordinary or working people and often contain political messages, in particular in support of Korean reunification. They also campaign for freedom of artistic expression. In 1989 they arranged for a photographic slide of a painting entitled History of the National Liberation Movement to be sent to North Korea where it was reproduced and exhibited. Artist Hong Song-dam who designed the painting is currently serving a three-year prison sentence for sending the slide to North Korea.
Chong Son-hee (Ms), aged 32, was the representative of Somiryon, the Seoul region chapter of Minmiryon and a member of the Central Committee of Minmiryon. She is a painter and worked with others on the production of the section entitled Fatherland Reunification Movement of the painting History of the National Liberation Movement. She also contributed to the exhibitions National Independence and Power of the People in 1990 and 1991. Chong Son-hee was arrested on 18 March 1991 and has been sentenced to two years' imprisonment. She was accused of various activities as the representative of Somiryon,
such as convening its several general meetings since April 1990, organizing and attending lectures on popular art theory and on the North Korean Juche ideology. She was held responsible for painting a banner on the theme of Korean reunification for the Student Council of Yonsei University and the painting of a mural about Im Su-kyong, a student detained for illegally visiting North Korea in 1989. Chong Son-hee was also charged for her active involvement in the Workers' Fine Arts School set up in the Kuro industrial zone in Seoul and for receiving and keeping various art publications, including copies of Fine Arts Movement published by Minmiryon. Amnesty International has adopted Chong Son-hee as a prisoner of conscience and is calling for her release.
Choi Ik-kyun (pen-name Choi Yol), aged 35, is an art critic who has published numerous articles as well as books, such as A History of the Contemporary Art Movement in Korea and Theory and Practice of Minjok (National) Art. He was the chairperson of the Art Criticism Group of Somiryon and the chairperson of Minmiryon. Choi Ik-kyun was arrested on 18 March 1991 and sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment. He was accused of drafting the platform of Minmiryon in April 1990, and of actively supporting the formation of Somiryon. He was also accused of giving lectures at meetings organised by the two groups.
Another charge against Choi Ik-kyun relates to the contents of seven editions of Minmiryon's publication Fine Arts Movement of which he was the publisher. The authorities claim that the magazine advocated socialist realism and reflected marxist-leninist views, praised North Korean art and agitated for class struggle. Choi Ik-kyun was in particular charged with reproducing in the magazine's fifth issue a statement of appeal written in prison by Hong Song-dam in which Hong expressed political beliefs which the authorities regard as pro-North Korean. Choi Ik-kyun is also accused of having in his possession various books and documents on socialism and North Korea. Amnesty International has adopted Choi Ik-kyun as a prisoner of conscience and is calling for his release.
Oh Chin-hee (Ms), aged 24, was arrested on 18 March 1991 and sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment. She was a member of the Central Committee of Somiryon and participated in various exhibitions, including the exhibitions Spring in the Fatherland and National Independence, both held in 1990. Amnesty International believes that Oh Chin-hee has been charged for her activities as a leading member of Somiryon. It has adopted her as a prisoner of conscience and is calling for her release.
The arrests of Cha Il-hwan, Park Yong-kyun and Lee Chin-woo
Three other members of Somiryon have been arrested in recent months. Lee Chin-woo was arrested on 29 June 1991, Park Yong-kyun was arrested on 5 September 1991 and Cha Il-hwan was arrested on 12 September 1991. Cha Il-hwan, aged 32, was previously arrested in August 1989 along with artist Hong Song-dam on charges of sending a photographic slide of the painting History of the National Liberation Movement to North Korea. He is reported to have been beaten and deprived of sleep during his interrogation and to have been denied access to his family for 14 days after his arrest. In December 1989 he was given an 18-month suspended sentence and released. After his release Cha Il-hwan left the artists movement and went to work on a farm in North Kyongsangbuk province, the area where he grew up.
Amnesty International believes that Cha Il-hwan, Lee Chin-woo and Park Yong-kyun may be prisoners of conscience. It is seeking further information about the reasons for their arrest and the charges against them.
The case of Park In-bae
Park In-bae, a 38-year-old stage director, was arrested in April 1991 and sentenced to two years' imprisonment. Park In-bae is Chairperson of the Seoul Labourers' Cultural Federation which is affiliated to the Korean National Artists Federation. He was accused of distributing four illegal tape recordings between 1989 and April 1991, the date of his arrest. The tape recordings were produced and distributed by small groups of people belonging to the Seoul Labourers' Cultural Federation and mainly consisted of songs written for the labour movement and performed by a variety of artists. Around 50,000 copies of the tapes were produced and sold. Under the law concerning the production of audio and video recordings, anyone who wishes to produce such a recording must submit an advance copy to the authorities.
The police are reported to have searched the offices of the Seoul Labourers' Cultural Federation and to have confiscated a number of the Federation's documents. They did not arrest any of the people involved in the manufacture of the tapes, or any of the other people involved in their distribution. Neither did they arrest any of the singers or song writers whose work was featured on the tapes.
Park In-bae was also accused of keeping the profits from the sale of the tapes for his own personal use. The Federation has denied this, saying that profits were minimal and were kept by the small groups of people who made the tapes.
Amnesty International adopted Park In-bae as a prisoner of conscience and called for his immediate release. It was also concerned at reports that he was suffering from diabetes and tuberculosis. On 24 September 1991 a doctor who examined Park In-bae in prison stated that he needed immediate hospitalization. On 9 October Park In-bae was transferred to a hospital and on 25 October he was released.
5) ARRESTS OF RESEARCH STUDENTS
In late June 1991 six research students belonging to Seoul Social Science Institute were arrested under the recently amended National Security Law. Two of the researchers were released and the other four were charged under Article 7 of the law for possessing and publishing articles and books praising North Korea. These publications are said to have espoused a theory of neo-colonial, national, monopolistic capitalism and to have thereby agreed with the activities of North Korea. Some of the publications are said to reflect the prisoners' beliefs in the cause of socialist revolution. Shortly after the arrests, several lawyers are reported to have commented that the arrests had been carried out without taking into account the spirit of the recent revision of the National Security Law.
Amnesty International believes that these prisoners have been detained for the peaceful exercise of their freedom of expression.
Shin Hyon-jun, aged 29, was studying for a doctorate in economics at the time of his arrest. He was accused of contributing articles to a number of publications including a thesis about the transformation of capitalist society, a methodological study about the history of socialism and a number of other theses which had been formally submitted to Seoul National University. He was held responsible for the entire contents of several books including Socialism: It's Theory, History and Reality to which he contributed one essay. Shin Hyon-jun is also alleged to have written leaflets entitled The Socialist Reforms and The Korean Peninsula for distribution at a symposium organized by Haktanhyop (association of scholars) and to have submitted a thesis entitled Socialism and Communism to a seminar on socialism organized by the Association of Scholars for Korean Social Economics. Amnesty International has adopted Shin Hyon-jun as a prisoner of conscience and is calling for his release.
Kwon Hyon-jong, aged 26, was studying for a master's degree in economics at the time of his arrest. He was accused of contributing to various publications including a book entitled The Development of Korean Capitalism, and for the contents of several theses he submitted to Seoul National University and a book entitled Korean Capitalism in the 1980s. As in the case of Shin Hyon-jun, he was held responsible for the entire contents of some books to which he had only contributed one essay. Kwon Hyon-jun was also accused of possessing pamphlets published by various democratic groups. Amnesty International has adopted Kwon Hyon-jong as a prisoner of conscience and is calling for his release.
Lee Chang-hui, aged 28, is studying for a doctorate in politics and was completing his term of military service at the time of his arrest. He was accused of writing a number of articles for journals and magazines, including contributions to the quarterly journal Reality and Science; an essay which was published in three university magazines and a study of democratic revolutions. He was additionally charged with the translation of a book written by Lenin and the possession of a number of pamphlets published by democratic groups and two books entitled The Literature for Workers Liberation and History of World Philosophy. Amnesty International has adopted Lee Chang-hui as a prisoner of conscience and is calling for his release.
Song Ju-myong, aged 28, is studying for a doctorate in politics and was completing his term of military service at the time of his arrest. He was suspected of writing several theses and articles, one of which was published by Haktanhyop and one which dealt with the situation and controversy surrounding the democratic (people's) movement and the characteristics of the 6th republic. Son Ju-myong was also accused of possessing a book by Y Krasin entitled The Theory of Socialist Revolution. Amnesty International has adopted Song Ju-myong as a prisoner of conscience and is calling for his release.
Song Ju-myong and Lee Chang-hui were serving in the military at the time of their arrest and are being held in a military prison. They were interrogated by the military security police. Lawyers working on behalf of Song Ju-myong and Lee Chang-hwi said they were denied access to their clients on 23 July. The lawyers filed an appeal to the military court. On 1 August they were given permission to see the two prisoners.
The Seoul Social Science Institute consists of some 70 scholars and graduate students of political science, sociology and economics. The Institute has viewed the arrests as a serious encroachment upon academic freedom and has pointed out that its members have consistently disagreed with the North Korean interpretation of Perestroika and its analysis of South Korean society.
Shortly after the arrests members of 25 different research associations established a "Committee to work against the oppression of freedom of thought and scholarship". Members of this committee have pointed out that the books and journals in question are still widely available in university bookshops and the theses had already been examined by a board of professors. On 1 July the committee issued a press statement protesting at the arrests as a violation of freedom of expression. They said that theories on socialism and revolution are widely studied throughout the world and cannot be ignored by social scientists. On 4 July the Ministry of Justice issued a statement saying that the books and pamphlets in question contained "provocative and threatening" ideas.
6) ARRESTS RELATING TO DEMONSTRATIONS IN MAY AND JUNE
The Death of Kang Kyung-dae
On 26 April 1991 student Kang Kyung-dae was beaten to death by riot police during an anti-government demonstration. His death provoked violent demonstrations throughout South Korea by students, workers and dissident groups and led to the arrests of five riot policemen on charges of murder. On 19 August four of the policemen were sentenced to prison terms of between two and three-and-a-half years. The fifth was given a suspended sentence and released.
Soon after the death of Kang Kyung-dae students, trade union leaders and dissident leaders established a committee to make arrangements for his funeral. After the funeral had taken place, a task force was established as a means of continuing to protest against the death of Kang Kyung-dae and the government's policies in general. The task force is said to have included representatives from around 55 dissident groups from political, labour and academic circles.
During the following weeks many protests and demonstrations were organized throughout the country. A number of people committed self-immolation as a gesture of protest against the death of Kang Kyung-dae and on 25 May a women student named Kim Kwi-jong was killed during a demonstration. Dissidents and students say that she was either beaten by riot police or suffocated by tear gas while the authorities claim that she was trampled to death by fellow protesters.
Arrests of Dissident Leaders
Following the protests and demonstrations the authorities announced a crackdown on dissidents and students . In early June the National Police Headquarters (NPH) were reported to have established special task forces throughout the country to arrest some 90 students and activists in connection with the anti-government demonstrations. Arrest warrants were issued for several dissident leaders who were staging a sit-in protest in Myongdong Cathedral. In June and July a number of dissident and trade union leaders, including those listed below, were arrested because of their alleged involvement in anti-government protests. Amnesty International is seeking further information about the arrests of the following people, whom it believes to have been charged under the Law on Assemblies and Demonstrations for organizing demonstrations without obtaining a permit and under the Law on the Punishment of Violent Acts for the violence which occurred at some of these demonstrations.
- Hyon Ju-ok, acting Chairman of Chonnohyop (National Council of Labour Unions) was arrested as he left Myongdong Cathedral on 14 June to attend an important union meeting. Hyon Ju-ok was also charged under the Labour Dispute Mediation Act for giving advice to member unions.
- Lee Su-ho, Vice-President of Chonkyojo (Korean Teachers and Educational Workers Union), was arrested on 25 June.
- Four people were arrested on 29 June as they left Myongdong Cathedral. They are Choi Jong-jin, a member of Chonnong (National Farmers' Union); Lee Dong-chin, a member of Chonkyojo; Lee Sun-hyong, acting Chairperson of Seoul Labour Union and Suh Jun-shik, Director of the Human Rights Committee of Chonminnyon (National Democratic Alliance of Korea). Suh Jun-shik was also charged under the Social Surveillance Law and further information about his case is given below.
- Im Mu-yong, a staff member of Chonminnyon, and Reverend Han Sang-yol, were arrested on 6 July. Reverend Han Sang-yol is also believed to have been charged under the National Security Law.
- Two members of Chonkyojo were arrested on 2 July. They are Chang In-kwon, Chairman of the Ulsan branch and Yu Sang-dok, Director of Policy and Planning. Further details about Yu Sang-dok are given in Section 7, on imprisoned trade unionists.
Many dissident and human rights groups have expressed concern that these leaders were imprisoned to curtail their political activities and to put an end to a series of anti-government protests.
Amnesty International is concerned that these prisoners may have been imprisoned for their peaceful activities as the leaders of dissident political and trade union groups. It is urging the authorities to ensure that they receive a fair trial and to release them if they have been imprisoned for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and association.
The Arrest of Kang Ki-hun
Kang Ki-hun, aged 27, is a staff member of Chonminnyon. He was arrested on 24 June and charged under the Criminal Code with aiding and abetting the suicide of Kim Ki-sol, also a staff member of Chonminnyon, who committed self-immolation on 8 May in protest at the killing of Kang Kyung-dae. Dissident groups have suggested that the police fabricated a case against Kang Ki-hun in order to discredit Chonminnyon and other groups at a time when they were at the centre of anti-government protests.
The evidence in this case consists of the analysis of Kim Ki-sol's handwriting carried out by the National Scientific Institute who claimed that entries in Kim Ki-sol's diary had been made by Kang Ki-hun, thus implicating him in the suicide. The Korean National Council of Churches commissioned an independent analysis which found that the entries in Kim Ki-sol's diary were made by himself. According to press reports, Kim Ki-sol's girlfriend, Hong Song-un, said that Kang Ki-hun may have been involved in the suicide. However, there is concern that she was interrogated for long periods by the police and held incommunicado, although she was later released.
Kang Ki-hun faces an additional charge under the National Security Law. He is accused of belonging to of Hyuknomaeng (Revolutionary Workers' Federation) which is considered by the authorities to be an "anti-state" group. When searching his house police are reported to have found the minutes of a Hyuknomaeng meeting.
Amnesty International is urging the authorities to ensure that Kang Ki-hun is given a fair trial and is released if he has been imprisoned for his peaceful political activities.
The Arrest of Suh Jun-shik
Suh Jun-shik was born in 1948 in Japan. He was adopted by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience during his previous imprisonment from 1971 to 1988. When his sentence for alleged espionage expired in 1978 he remained in detention under the Public Security Law until his release in 1988 because he refused to "convert to anti-communism". He was rearrested on 29 June 1991 and charged under the Law on Assemblies and Demonstrations with organizing illegal anti-government demonstrations and under the Law on the Punishment of Violent Acts for the violence which broke out at some of these demonstrations.
In addition to the charges mentioned above, Suh Jun-shik is charged under the Social Surveillance Law with failing to report to the police over the three year period since his release in 1988. The Social Surveillance Law was enacted in 1989 and under its terms certain released political prisoners are required to report to the authorities about their meetings, political activities, travel etc. Some 300 former prisoners are subject to this law and face prison terms of up to one year for failure to comply with its terms. Amnesty International adopted Suh Jun-shik as a prisoner of conscience during his imprisonment from 1971 to 1988 and considers the reporting requirements under the Social Surveillance Law to be a violation of his rights to freedom of expression and association.
During the first hearing of his trial in September Suh Jun-shik denied responsibility for the organization of anti-government demonstrations and for the violence which occurred at some of them. Amnesty International believes that Suh Jun-shik may be a prisoner of conscience, detained for the peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of expression and association. It has urged the authorities to ensure that he receives a fair trial and to release him if he has been detained for his peaceful political activities.
7) IMPRISONED TRADE UNIONISTS
Arrests for Third Party Intervention
In February 1991 seven trade union leaders belonging to the Association of Large Factory Trade Unions were arrested and charged with third party intervention in a labour dispute. The seven men were arrested as they left a meeting of the Association of Large Factory Trade Unions which had discussed plans for spring wage negotiations and solidarity with workers at the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Heavy Machinery Company who had gone on strike the previous day. They were accused of distributing leaflets urging workers at Daewoo to go on strike. Lee Eun-ku, President of the Daewoo Motor Company trade union, Chong Yoon-kwang, President of Seoul Subway company trade union and Hong Young-pyo, Secretary of the Conference of Large Faction Trade Unions, were each sentenced to one-and-a-half years' imprisonment. Yoon Myong-won, President of Daewoo Precision trade union, was sentenced to one year's imprisonment. Two others were given suspended prison sentences and released. Amnesty International believes that these men are prisoners of conscience if they are detained for giving advice about peaceful trade union activities. The seventh prisoner, Park Chang-su, died in early May after falling from the roof of a prison hospital. Further information about Park Chang-su is given below.
Kim Yong-dae, acting President of Chonnohyop (National Council of Labour Unions), was arrested on 21 December 1990 and charged under the Labour Dispute Mediation Act for advising around 70 union affiliates to reject inspection of union documents by the Ministry of Labour. He is also accused of inciting around 100 illegal strikes by distributing Chonnohyop propaganda including a set of guidelines for unions to use in wage negotiations. Kim Yong-dae is also charged under the law on Assemblies and Demonstrations for the organization of several gatherings and demonstrations which took place in late 1989. In May 1991 he was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment. Amnesty International believes that Kim Yong-dae may have been imprisoned solely for the organization of peaceful demonstrations and the distribution of advice to trade union members about legitimate trade union activities. It is seeking further information about the charges used to convict him.
Hyon Ju-ok, aged 36, acting President of Chonnohyop, was arrested in June 1991 and charged with third party intervention for the advice sent to member unions during his term as union president. Amnesty International is seeking further information about the charges against Hyon Ju-ok as it believes these may relate to the distribution of advice about peaceful and legitimate trade union activities. Hyon Ju-ok has also been charged under the Law on Assemblies and Demonstrations and the Law on the Punishment of Violent Acts for organizing several demonstrations in May and June 1991.
In June 1991 Cha Su-ryun, a leader of the Korean Federation of Hospital Workers' Unions, was arrested on charges of violating the prohibition of third party intervention. The accusations are based on advice given out to members and a number of speeches she had made in solidarity with other trade unions. Amnesty International was concerned that she may have been detained for her peaceful political activities. Cha Su-ryun was sentenced to one years' imprisonment, suspended for two years, and released.
The Death of Park Chang-su
On 6 May 1991 trade union leader Park Chang-su died after allegedly committing suicide by jumping from the window of Anyang prison hospital. Park Chang-su, President of Hanjin Heavy Industry trade union, was arrested in February 1991 along with six other trade union leaders who were attending a regular meeting of the Association of Large Factory Trade Unions (see above). Park Chang-su is alleged to have committed suicide as a protest at the death of Kang Kyung-dae who was beaten to death by riot police in a demonstration on 26 April. Kang Kyung-dae's death provoked mass demonstrations throughout South Korea in May and June and prompted several people to commit suicide in a gesture of protest.
The official autopsy report on Park Chang-su's death made no mention of any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death. This has been disputed by trade unions and human rights groups who have suggested that Park Chang-su's death was not a result of suicide. To Amnesty International's knowledge the authorities have not ordered an independent inquiry into the death of Park Chang-su.
The Arrests of Chonkyojo Members
Chonkyojo (Korean Teachers' and Educational Workers' Union) was inaugurated in May 1989 and was immediately declared to be illegal by the authorities. The Constitution guarantees trade union rights, except for public employees, and the Civil Service Law prohibits teachers in state-run schools from establishing or joining unions. Similar restrictions apply to teachers in private schools under the Private School Law. When it ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in April 1990, the government made a reservation to Article 22 which guarantees the right to form and join trade unions. Chonkyojo has declared its aims to be the realization of a "nationalistic, democratic and humane" education, including broad educational reforms and the recognition of teachers' rights to form a union. The union has been accused by the authorities of trying to introduce "leftist" ideology into schools and attempting to alter the country's democratic system. Chonkyojo has around 15,000 members, most of whom have had to take out secret membership. Since 1989 around 1,500 teachers have been dismissed from their posts because of their membership of the union.
The Arrest of Lee Pu-yong: Because Chonkyojo is regarded as illegal it never receives police permission to hold demonstrations. Over the past two years several thousand teachers are reported to have been briefly detained for taking part in demonstration rallies in support of the union's aims and of these over 100 have been tried and sentenced. Most received suspended prison sentences and were released. In May 1990 Chonkyojo held a rally to celebrate its first anniversary. At that time Lee Pu-yong was acting president of the union. After the rally an arrest warrant was issued for Lee Pu-yong and he went into hiding. He was arrested in June 1991 and charged with holding an illegal demonstration. The rally was reported to have been peaceful and Lee Pu-yong was not charged with violence. Amnesty International has adopted Lee Pu-yong as a prisoner of conscience, detained for the peaceful exercise of his freedom of expression and association, and is calling for his release. Lee Pu-yong was also adopted as a prisoner of conscience during his previous imprisonment, from July to November 1989 when he was charged in connection with his activities on behalf of Chonkyojo. In November 1989 he was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment, suspended for two years, and released.
The Arrest of Yu Sang-dok: Yu Sang-dok, Director of Policy and Planning of Chonkyojo, was arrested on 2 July 1991 on charges under the National Security Law and the Law on Assemblies and Demonstrations. The charges under the National Security Law relate to an article which Yu Sang-dok published in Chonkyojo's newsletter Education Movement in March 1991. The article, entitled Teachers' Role in Establishing a Democratic Government, is alleged to have benefited North Korea by advocating that workers and others should work together to establish a "democratic government". It also criticised the current educational system and advocated the abolition of anti-communist education. To Amnesty International's knowledge, the article did not use or advocate the use of violence. The author of the article was not arrested.
Yu Sang-dok is also charged under the Law on Assemblies and Demonstrations with planning and participating in two demonstrations organized by Chonkyojo. One was held on 18 November 1990 and the other, Chonkyojo's anniversary rally, was held on 26 May 1991. To Amnesty International's knowledge the demonstrations were peaceful and Yu Sang-dok was not charged with violence. Another charge against Yu Sang-dok relates to two demonstrations which took place in May 1991 following the death of Kang Kyung-dae who was beaten to death by riot police on 26 April 1991. Yu Sang-dok is accused of participating in a demonstration on 14 May and with helping to plan Kang Kyung-dae's funeral procession which took place on 18 May and is said by the authorities to have posed a threat to "public peace and order". Some 20 other people are alleged to have been involved in planning the funeral procession but most were not indicted. Yu Sang-dok was not charged with violence.
Amnesty International believes that Yu Sang-dok may be a prisoner of conscience, detained for the peaceful exercise of his freedom of expression and association.
The Arrest of Choi Jae-ho
Local elections were held in South Korea in 1991. The elections were held on 26 March, for local councils in cities, counties and municipal wards and on 20 June for local councils in large cities and provinces.
Choi Jae-ho, 42-year-old President of the Korean Federation of Clerical and Financial Workers' Unions (Samokomyung), was arrested on 10 August 1991 and charged under the Local Election Law for advising union members not to vote for candidates from the ruling party on account of its suppression of trade union activities.
The Korean Federation of Clerical and Financial Workers' Unions has 126 member unions throughout South Korea and is affiliated to the International Federation of Commercial, Clerical, Professional and Technical Employees (FIET) which has member unions in over 100 countries throughout the world.
Amnesty International adopted Choi Jae-ho as a prisoner of conscience, detained for the peaceful exercise of his freedom of expression. In September Choi Jae-ho was sentenced to one year's imprisonment, suspended for two years and released.
8) ARRESTS OF MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES
In September 1991 the Defense Ministry announced the arrests of 34 military conscripts between the months of January and August. Most had been charged under the National Security Law with instigating left-wing activities in the military by distributing revolutionary material and attempting to indoctrinate fellow draftees with Communist ideology. The report said that these prisoners had joined left-wing organizations before enlisting in the army and had continued their activities on behalf of these organizations while doing their military service.
In April 1991 the Defense Security Command (DSC) announced the arrests of a number of soldiers from the army and navy bases in Pusan. The soldiers were accused of belonging to two "seditious rings" which spread North Korean propaganda and were said to have tried to indoctrinate soldiers with communist literature. They are reported to have produced five issues of a pamphlet entitled Patriotic Soldier which they then distributed to students, dissident organizations and labour unions in Pusan. The pamphlets are said to have called for the withdrawal of US forces from Korea (US forces have been stationed in South Korea since the end of World War II), democratisation of the armed forces and an end to the annual "Team Spirit" Korea/US military exercises. Some of the soldiers are alleged to have formed a "reading circle" and invited workers and students to belong. The DSC claimed that this reading circle was a leftist study group and that its members read pro-North Korean books such as Workers Economics in order to "arm themselves with revolutionary ideas". In September Amnesty International learned that at least three of these prisoners had been tried and sentenced. Kang Sang-min was sentenced to eight months' imprisonment, Chong Ki-ho was sentenced to one year's imprisonment and Suh Jae-ho was sentenced to three years' imprisonment.
On 27 June the DSC reported that five soldiers and five students had been charged under the National Security Law with engaging in "pro-North Korean" and "anti government" activities in an attempt to demoralize and destabilize the military. Those arrested included soldiers Song Chae-bong and Chong Chun-tae. The two men were accused of belonging to a left-wing ring called Chajudaeo which aimed to bring about reunification through a socialist revolution. They are said to have tried to indoctrinate other soldiers and to have distributed pro-North Korean propaganda in the military.
Amnesty International believes that Suh Jae-ho, Chong Ki-ho, Kang Sang-min, Chong Chun-tae and Song Chae-bong may be prisoners of conscience, detained solely for their peaceful political activities. It is seeking further information about the charges and evidence against them.
9) FURTHER ARRESTS OF MEMBERS OF SANOMAENG
Around 100 members of Sanomaeng (Socialist Workers' League) are reported to have been arrested between September 1990 and March 1991 under the National Security Law for membership of an anti-state organization which was allegedly planning to overthrow the government and replace it with a socialist or communist government. Shortly after the arrests of some 40 members, in September 1990, Amnesty International received reports that several of the prisoners had been beaten and deprived of sleep during their interrogation. By September 1991 around 50 Sanomaeng members had been sentenced to prison terms ranging from 18 months to life imprisonment. Amnesty International is concerned that some may be prisoners of conscience, detained for the peaceful exercise of their freedom of expression and association. It is seeking further information about the charges used to convict them.
The case of Park Noh-hae
Sanomaeng leader, Park Noh-hae was arrested in March 1991. Park Noh-hae, aged 33, is a well-known poet and political activist whose first book of poems, The Dawn of Labour, was published in 1984. Park Noh-hae told his lawyers that during his interrogation by the Agency for National Security Planning he had only been allowed to sleep for two to four hours each night during the first 25 days of his imprisonment and that he had been beaten on three occasions by a group of around 13 interrogators. He is said to have attempted suicide as a result of the beatings and sleep deprivation. In September 1991 Park Noh-hae was sentenced to life imprisonment; the prosecution had requested that he be sentenced to death. Amnesty International is seeking further information about the charges against Park Noh-hae and is concerned at reports that he and other members of Sanomaeng were ill-treated during interrogation.
Amnesty International November 1991AI Index: ASA 25/34/91