SOUTH KOREA: SUH Joon-sik, A Human Rights Activist Arrested Again

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: UA971110
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest & detention,

A veteran human rights activist and former prisoner of conscience SUH Joon-sik, director of Saranobang Group for Human Ricihts in Korea was arrested by the police at Sarangbang offtce at 500 P,m. on 4 November 1997. He was detained for organizing the human rights film festival, for \”benefiting\” North Korea and for failing to report directly to the police regularly under \” terms of his previous release.

Suh Joon-sik was a prisoner of conscience from 1971 until his release in 1988. He was detained again for six months in 1991. Sarangbang as a humain rights organization promotes human rights education, Publication of the human rights daily news, and documentation.

THE DETENTION

On 4 November About 16 police men searched Sarangbang office from 5.00 p.m. to 6.15 p.m. Mr. SUH’s home was also searced. They confiscated video tapes shown during the 2nd Human Rights Film Festivai, statements and flyers related to the Festival, and Mr. Suh’s Notebook computer, 48 computer floppy diskettes, Binding of SarangbangÂ’s Human Rights Daily News (Vol. 5, 6, and 8), and his personal belongings including book he wrote in prison..

On the search warrant, the items to be confiscated were, ‘Video tapes of Ideological materialsand any evidence link to the subjcts violation of National Security Law.\” According to the attest warrant, he was detained for organizing human rights film festival, for benefiting’ North Korea and for failing to report directly to the police regularly under \” terms of his previous release.

He is currently detained at Mapo police station in Seoul.

HUMAN RIGHTS FESTIVAL

The Human Rights Film Festival was staged for the purpose of inspiring fresh ideas of ‘humanization’ among Koreans and free of charge for public education. However, in South Korea, all the films for public viewing are strictly under censorship (often it results in film-cutting or prohibited from showing). So, the organizers of the festival had no choice but to disobey this anachronistic practice.

Sarangbang’s 2nd Human Rights Film Festival opened on 27 Septemter 1997 and the festival ended a one day earlier than originally scheduled due to the mounting pressure from police to arrest more activists. The organizers of the festival had to face obstacle from the beginning because of their refusal to submit films for governrnent censorship The censorship was ruled unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court.. As a result of the refusal to submit the films to censorship, five people were arrested during the festival, and police’s brutality continued.

Human rights observers claim the film may be a just excuse for the authorities; the arrest Suh may herald a crackdown on human rights and other activists in the run-up to December’s Presidential election, as has happened in the past. SUh Joon-sik’s arrest came as the Government claimed there were no prisoners of conscience in South Korea.

REQUESTED ACTION

Please send faxes/telegrams/letters expressing concern about the arrest of Suh Joon-sik call for his immediate and unconditional release.

Send Appeals to

1) President Km Young-sam, The Blue House, 1 Sejong~no, Chongno-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea. Fax +82-2-M-0253, Telegrams: President, Seoul, South Korea

2) Minister of Justice Mr. Kim Jong-koo, 1 Chunoano-dong, Kwachon-myon,Shihung-gun, Kyonggi-do, Republic of Korea. Fax 4.82-2-504-3331, Telegrams: Justice Minister, Shihung-gun, Kyonggi Province, South Korea

3) Director, Agency for National Security Planning, Mr Kwon Young-hae, Segok~dong, Kangnam-ku, Seoul, Republic of Korea. Fax (c/o Presidents office), Telegrams: Director ANSP, Seoul, Korea

4) Director, the National Police Agency, Mr Hwang yong-ba, 209 Mioeun-dong, Sedaemun-ou, Seoul, Republic of Korea. (Fax: c/o President’s office), Telegrams: Director the National Police Agency, Seoul, Korea

5) Director, the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office, Mr Kim joung-tae, 1730-1 Secho-dong, Secho-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea. Fax + 82-2-770-0253 (c/o President’s office), Telegrams Director the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office.

Copies to diplomatic representatives of Republic of Korea accredited to yourcountry

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA971110
Countries : South Korea,
Issues : Arbitrary arrest & detention,