Republic of Korea (South Korea): The case of Lee Hwa-chun
Amnesty International is calling for the release of prisoner of conscience Lee Hwa-chun, a 40-year-old farmer who is serving a seven-year sentence under the National Security Law. He was arrested on 26 August 1996 and held for 20 days' interrogation by the Agency for National Security Planning (ANSP). During this time he was allegedly tortured and forced to sign a statement of "confession". He was charged with espionage and with belonging to an "anti-state" group, Sanomaeng (Socialist Workers' League). Amnesty International is concerned that the authorities failed to adequately investigate his claims of ill-treatment by the ANSP, and that he was convicted on the basis of very little evidence. Amnesty International also considers that his conviction on charges of membership of Sanomaeng is a violation of his non-violent exercise of his rights to freedom of expression and association.