Jeju prisoner updates


Photo by Fr. Kim Sung-Hwan when he visited Dr. Song Kang-Ho and Br. Park Do-Hyun in prison on July 1

Latest update below posted July 31.

Since publication of the Nuclear Resister #170 (pdf), there have been new actions and several trials affecting those in prison for nonviolent resistance to navy base construction in Jeju Island, South Korea. The June edition of Gangjeong Village Story (pdf) reports that on May 31, a young woman named Gwak was arrested in Seoul and moved to Jeju prison the next day, June 1. She had been accused for her protest to stop explosives in March 2012 and was arrested by the court on May 31 for her refusal to respond to the court’s call. On June 5, she received a sentence of a 2,500,000 KRW fine (about $2,200) and was released.

Also on June 5, Prof. Yang Yoon-Mo was brought to court on new charges of property damage, violence, and obstruction of business. His lawyer objected to many of the prosecutors’ charges. He also said that the prosecutor’s evidence from the construction site closed-circuit television cameras (CCTVs) should not be accepted because the operation of those CCTVs is done in violation of the Law on Protection of Personal Information. Prof. Yang’s trail was adjourned until July 17 and he was returned to the prison.

On June 10, Mr. Kim Young-Jae was on trial along with Fr. Kim Sung-Hwan for climbing the caisson dock with Park Suk-Jin and others on September 6, 2012. In additional, Mr. Kim was charged with 16 counts of obstruction of business. Much of the testimony and legal arguments focused on the illegal operation of the construction site CCTVs, of which 10 are currently being used to monitor the moves of villagers and peacekeepers on a 24/7 basis.

Their trial was adjourned until July 25.

On June 11 and 22, Mr. Lee Jong-Hwa, a writer and poet, was on trial and was finally sentenced to 6 months imprisonment, suspended, and two years probation. He was released on June 22 after 55 days in jail.

Arrested for revealing the truth?
Reprinted from Gangjeong Village Story, July 2013

Despite constant and clear proof of a total disregard for environmental pro- tection and construction regulations, the ROK government/corporate collusion to build this base contiues regardless of the cost in human suffering, corporate waste, and environmental destruction. Last year’s typhoons rendered the poorly installed caissons completely worthless, causing at least 35 million USD damage. With typhoon season again approaching and the base not ready to handle it, the construction has kicked into high gear and it soon became clear that the regular disregard for environmental standards had increased and needed to be documented and stopped.

Dr. Song Kang-Ho and Jesuit Brother Park Do-Hyun along with other members of the SOS (Save Our Seas) ocean action and environmental monitoring group took to the water to document these violations and ask the Jeju Island government to do it something. It was found that the square “frame-type silt protector” which is a required first layer of protection (during dredging) directly surrounding a dredging area. These should be very lengthy curtains that go near the ocean floor or at least 10-20 m. However it was found that in most places there is no curtain at all while in others there are torn curtains. This was especially outrageous these inside protectors are often used as an excuse when it is pointed out how poorly installed and/or non-existent the outside layer of silt protectors surrounding the site is. Following this discovery, The coast guard and the Island government were contacted. The coast guard was even re- quested numerous times to look together at the violations, instead of following and harassing the ocean monitors. Still nothing was done.

On July 1st, Dr. Song and Brother Park along with another two activists, set out in two kayaks for their regular monitoring. Again it was requested that the coast guard and island government as- sist in the monitoring and/or do something about the violations. Once at sea, Dr. Song and Brother Park, saw that dredging was actively happening and that they were once again using the square frame silt protector. They once again requested assistance from the coast guard but were ignored. So they took matters into their own hands and went inside the construction site to check the silt protector frame. As they suspected, the dredging was taking place at a rapid pace with zero environmental protection in place. Suddenly the coast guard, who had until this time ignored them, arrived and announced that Dr. Song and Brother Park were under arrest. Dr. Song explained clearly to them what was happening, but it was disregarded and the two were forcefully placed under arrest. During the violent arrest Brother Park’s video camera was even broken.

Following their arrest, clear documentation of their actions and the construction violations, as well as the inaction by government authorities was presented to a judge in an appeal to cancel their arrest warrant. The judge disregarded it all and they were imprisoned.

Prisoner updates
Reprinted from Gangjeong Village Story, July 2013

There are currently four Gangjeong prisoners who unfortunately cannot join the Grand March this year.

Yang Yoon-Mo, who was directly arrested from court on February 1st of this year, started a new trial on June 5. On the second hearing of that trial on July 17 a construction worker more 190 cm in height and 90 kg in weight, testified that the small in stature Prof. Yang had assaulted him. It was very clear that he was falsely testifying against Prof. Yang. He is currently facing a number of charges, ranging from Obstruction of Business to Assault. As of July 27, he has been in prison 177 days. On March 24, he finished a 52 day prison fast.

Kim Young-Jae, who hit his 100th day in prison on July 20, filed for bail but it was dismissed by the court, absurdly stating that he is a flight risk. An appeal has been filed. Additionally, he had a trial on July 25 together with Jesuit Fr. Kim Seong-Hwan. One of the police officers who testified in court regarding his arrest, stated that he arrested Kim because he did not respond to police warnings. However in a video screened for the court of the April 12 arrest, he is clearly seen moving away from a truck he was blocking to the shoulder of the road following the police warning. He was then arrested on the shoulder of the road, not while blocking the truck.

Dr. Song Kang-Ho was arrested along with Jesuit Brother Park Do-Hyun on July 1st. It is his third imprisonment related to the Gangjeong struggle. After Yang Yoon-Mo, he is the most imprisoned of those struggling to oppose the Jeju naval base project. Even though most arrests in Gangjeong have been illegal and unreasonable, the arrest of Song and Park was especially unjust as detailed in the headline article of this months’s issue. Dr. Song is now in a private cell in Jeju prison where he writes daily on various subjects.

Br. Park Do-Hyung has also been moved to a private cell after spending time in Juvenile cell with youths. In a letter on July 18, he wrote, “My body is detained through state power because I acted to be with Gangjeong villagers, victims of state power and to save the life and peace of Jeju Island. I accept this as the will of God who demands that I should live joyfully in prison even though I do not know how long it will be.” Brother Park is also on trial. He has been accused with approximately 50 counts of Obstruction of Business, mostly for participating in the daily Catholic mass in front of the construction gates.

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