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South Korea: Further information on fear of arrest as prisoners of conscience / fear of mass ill-treatment

, Index number: ASA 25/007/1997

On 21 January the authorities suspended arrest warrants against 15 trade union leaders and withdrew some 1000 riot police from outside Myongdong Cathedral. Five others leaders who had been arrested were released on 23 January. President Kim Young-sam agreed to reconsider controversial labour and security legislation in discussion at the National Assembly. Amnesty International is urging the government to ensure that any revised legislation is drafted in accordance with international standards on freedom of expression and association. It is also urging the government to take steps to ensure that political suspects detained by the ANSP are protected from human rights violations. There have been reports that 13 political prisoners were ill-treated in Anyang Prison after they went on hunger strike to protest against the new legislation. On 29 December they were reportedly tied up, held in solitary confinement and denied access to their families. This punishment lasted in some cases for longer than a week.

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