Stop the intimidation and release those in custody!
(6 June 2014, Seoul) Recently, a court in South Korea unfairly issued warrants for the arrest of three protestors: a Seoul National University student protestor who was inside a government building on May 22nd, the Secretary General of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, and a member of the government employees’ union who attempted to march towards the Blue House(Presidential Office) during the candlelight vigil on May 24th.
Despite the fact that the three protestors were well-known and they were clearly not flight risks, the court still issued arrest warrants. The warrants were based on some very minor problems that came up during the vigil and protests. The issuance of these warrants is a harsh and excessive measure that undermines the freedom of expression, speech, and assembly guaranteed by the South Korean Constitution.
We denounce this action of the court and question the intention behind the excessive use of warrants. These warrants are being used to suppress the rights of these individuals and are causing a “chilling effect” on free speech. Citizens who are begging for the truth of the Sewol Ferry accident should not feel intimidated for peacefully petitioning the government. The government needs to answer its people in a just manner and not avoid its responsibilities by threatening protestors with arrest.
We petition the court to stop its baseless, excessive use of warrants, release the three protestors in custody, and uphold all citizens’ rights of the freedom of expression, speech, and assembly as guaranteed by the Constitution.
June 6, 2014
People’s Committee for the Sewol Ferry Tragedy
※ Note : ‘People’s Committee for the Sewol Ferry Tragedy’ is a committee comprised of more than 800 South Korean civil society organizations. It was founded on May 22nd by the ‘Roundtable Meeting in Response to the Sewol Ferry Tragedy(세월호 참사 대응 각계 원탁회의)’.
Korean Statement >> 법원은 시위 참가자들에 대한 과도한 법집행을 중단하고, 구속자를 석방하라!
Translated by Ms. Shinai Kwon, Volunteer
Proofread by Ms. Kelly Lee, Volunteer