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SOUTH KOREA: Unlimited punishment for holding different thoughts and ideas

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Statement : It is widely reported that Acts relating to national security created in various names throughout in Asia have been used, not to protect national security per se, but to oppress persons holding different ideas, or opinions, or critical of policies of the government. It is also a recognised trend that human rights defenders have been especially targeted by these Acts. As far as that of South Korea is concerned, the misuse of the National Security Act due to vague and wide provisions has received wide criticism both locally and internationally. However, another piece of legislation that has earned comparatively less attention in this regard is the 'Security Surveillance Act'. The Act raises another serious question, not only on the freedom of opinion, expression and consciousness, but also the deprivation of fair trial. Read More...

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SOUTH KOREA: Legislatures' attempt to undermine fair trial

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Statement : While the alleged fabrication and concealment of evidence by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) is gaining more weight in a case of Mr. Yu who is on trial, charged with violation of National Security Act (NSA), it is noticeable that few legislatures have started joining in support of the NIS. It is a normal practice of political propaganda machinery that legislatures from the ruling party play a role in guardians of the NIS on the grounds that the NIS is under the direct control of the President. Thus, if the critiques against the agents and the director of the NIS are found guilty by the court of law, it would not only be a serious challenge to the leadership of the President but also an adversarial effect to the upcoming local election scheduled in June. From this perspective, those guardians come into play. Read More...

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Torture in South Korea
The Republic of Korea has recognised the competence of the Committee Against Torture pursuant to Article 21 and 22 of the Convention in November 2007.

However, two significant problems in the country exist. First, redress for the victims who were tortured and convicted through the confession by torture and fabricated evidence by the Agency for National Security Planning, the predecessor of the National Intelligence Service. After the establishment of Truth and Reconciliation Commission at the end of 2005, such cases were examined so that the victims can bring the result of the findings to the court for a review. However, such cases were reviewed mainly not based on the confession through the act of torture but prolonged detention.

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