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South Korea: Further information on prisoner of conscience / fear of ill-treatment:

, N° d'index: ASA 25/001/1998

Suh Jun-sik: This human rights activist is currently held in Youngdoungpo Centre and his trial opens on 15 January 1998. AI believes that he is a prisoner of conscience and continues to call for his immediate and unconditional release.

EXTERNAL AI Index: ASA 25/01/98
9 January 1998
Further information on UA 344/97 (ASA 25/38/97, 4 November 1997) - Prisoner
of conscience / Fear of ill-treatment
REPUBLIC OF KOREA (SOUTH KOREA)Suh Jun-sik, aged 49, human rights activist
Suh Jun-sik is currently held in Youngdungpo Detention Centre and his trial,
which could last weeks or months, opens before Seoul District Court on 15 January
1998. Amnesty International believes that Suh Jun-sik is on trial for his
peaceful human rights activities and is calling for his immediate and
unconditional release. It is concerned that this prosecution increases the
pressures on other human rights activists and may serve to stifle the growth
of human rights activism in South Korea.
The main charges against Suh Jun-sik relate to a human rights film festival
organized by Sarangbang human rights group, of which he is the director. The
organization had refused to allow government censorship of the films shown
and the authorities declared that the screening of one film, "Red Hunt",
constituted a violation of the National Security Law. This documentary film,
about mass killings on Cheju Island in 1948, had been shown to at least one
other festival without the organizers facing prosecution. Other charges against
Suh Jun-sik include the possession of poetry books alleged to "benefit" North
Korea and failing to report to the police about his overseas trips, including
a visit to the International Secretariat of Amnesty International in May 1997.
Suh Jun-sik, aged 49, has already spent 17 years in prison as a prisoner of
conscience. Since his release, in 1988, he has become one of South Korea’s
most prominent human rights activists. Many civic, religious and human rights
groups have campaigned for his release and he will be defended in court by
a team of human rights lawyers. In December 1997 Suh Jun-sik was awarded a
human rights prize by the Korean National Council of Churches.
Before his arrest, Suh Jun-sik spoke to Amnesty International about his earlier
imprisonment. He said: "The mere thought of having such huge support from abroad
would keep us [prisoners] going. In a way we chose to suffer for a cause we
believe in and we were delighted at the international solidarity poured onto
us. You let us now that we are not as lonely and isolated as the authorities
tried to show. . . An important thing is to maintain a level of pressure for
a very long time. You must be prepared to be very patient and please never
give up".
Suh Jun-sik has not been ill-treated in prison. However, his reading material
has been censored. He has not been permitted to read his organization’s bulletin
Daily Human Rights News or newspapers reports about his own case.
Amnesty International is appealing to President Kim Young-sam to release Suh
Jun-sik. It is also sending appeals to President-elect Kim Dae-jung who takes
office on 25 February.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail
letters in English, Korean or in your own language:
- expressing concern that Suh Jun-sik is held on account of his peaceful human
rights activities and his political views;
2
- calling for his immediate and unconditional release;
- calling for the National Security Law to be amended in accordance with
international standards and calling for the release of all prisoners held for
non-violent exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and association.
APPEALS TO:
1) President Kim Young-sam
The Blue House
1 Sejong-no, Chongno-gu
Seoul, Republic of Korea
Faxes: +82 2 770 0253
Telegrams: President, Seoul, South Korea
Salutation: Dear President
2) President-elect Kim Dae-jung
President-elect Kim Dae-jung
National Congress for New Politics
Hanyang Building 4th Floor
14-31 Yoido-dong, Youngdungpo-gu
Seoul, Republic of Korea
Faxes: +82 2 784 6070 or 784 6690
Salutation: Dear President-elect
COPIES TO:
1) Judge Kim Kil-jong
Seoul District Court, Western Branch
105-1 Kongduck-dong, Mapo-ku
121-713 Seoul
Republic of Korea
Faxes: +82 2 704 4065
2) Sarangbang human rights group
4th Floor, 8-29, Myungryun 2-ka
Jongro-ku, Seoul 110-522
Republic of Korea
Faxes:+82 2 741 5364
E-mail: rights@interpia.net
and to diplomatic representatives of the Republic of Korea (South Korea)
accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 26 February 1998.

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