Update (March 24) Prof. Yang Yoon-Mo’s oral statement ending 52 days’ prison fast
Update (Feb. 11): Yang Yoon-Mo will hit 15th day prison fast on Feb. 15: More on Yang Yoon-Mo
- Yang Yoon-Mo, a movie critic, was arrested directly from the court
Yang Yoon-Mo, a movie critic and one of the prominent opponents against the Jeju naval base project was directly arrested and jailed from the court on Feb. 1, 2013 . It is his 4th time imprisonment. He is the one who has been jailed the most numerous times during the struggle against the base project by now. (see the below for the details) He was also one of the subjects of the individual complaints to the UN Human Rights Council in 2012.
He is currently in prison and you may write encouraging and supporting letters to him:
Yang Yoon-Mo(No. 301)
Jeju Prison, 161 Ora-2dong, Jeju City, Jeju, the Peace Island, Korea
The criminal department No. 4 of the higher court in Jeju (Judge: Oh Hyun-Kyu), annulling the 1st court decisions of probation etc. on him, sentenced 1 year and six months imprisonment against him who has been charged of obstruction of business etc (Refer to the Korean articles). Such court arrest has not occurred before his case in the struggle to stop the base project. He also became the first opponent against the base project who got an actual prison sentence. See also here.
The cases of the 1st trials have been annexed in the trial sentence of appeal on Feb. 1. Those are the cases of the 1st court decisions on June 1, 2011 (After the arrest on April 16, 2011, charged of obstruction of business, violation on the punishment on the violence Act etc. The court decision on him was 1 year and six months imprisonment with two year suspension), on March 20, 2012 (After the arrest on Jan. 30, 2012, charged of obstruction of business etc. The court decision on him was 10 months imprisonment with two year suspension), and on the charge of violation on the Public Water Act ( That was for a sit-in tent in the Gureombi Rock. He was sentenced ‘no guilty,’ in this case)
Given that it was a decision on his appeal aginst the 1st court decision, such an unusual and harsh sentence made people confirm that it was a political retaliation not only against him whose health is already weak for the protest fasts twice in 2011 (more than 74 days) and 41 days (2012) but also the whole opposition movement people against the Jeju naval base project, especially after the government manipulated its political ground to push the base project with a false report on the government-supervised simulation ‘show’ on Jan. 31. It is also a violence that preludes merciless oppression on human rights and environmental destruction.
Accidentally Feb. 1 was his birthday and all of his friends and colleagues were shocked, sad, and infuriated. Dr. Song Kang-Ho has been also arrested on his birthday on April 1, 2012 and got the court decision of imprisonment on the anniversary of 4.3, same year.
Amazingly the notification letter by the Jeju district court on Feb. 1, 2013 is written for the reason of imprisoning him only in one line that reads that ‘the accused has a reason to run away.’ It is a serious debasement on a man who has put his fate on the Gurembi Rock and a film critic who was acknowledged with a ‘special art award’ from the Jeju People’s Artist Federation on Dec. 28, 2012, for his actual participation in history in person (Korean article). It is also immoral and unjust attitude for the South Korean oligarchies including the court to patch up their baseless accusation on him with a line.
Rev. Jeong Yeon-Gil who was released on Dec. 12 after 98 days’ imprisonment criticized the court decision against Yang on Feb. 1, by citing the below, which shows the contrast between it and Constitution.
Oh Hyun-Kyu, the judge who sentenced Yang and imprisoned him from the court reads: “The accused has made a setback in the national policy project by his activity such as obstruction of construction etc from his own judgement that the naval base construction is a violation of law. Even though it is not a crime to take an individual interest, [the court] cannot find his will of self-examination even during the repeated process of arrests, imprisonments, and release son him. Therefore, a prison sentence is inevitable.”
However, the article 19 of the Constitution reads: “All the citizens have the freedom of consciousness.”
Also, the ruling by the Constitutional Court of Korea on April 25, 2002 reads:
“The consciousness that the Constitution intends to protect means an urgent and concrete consciousness as a strong and sincere call from the heart that the value of one’s own personal existence will be destroyed if not acting as such, in judging the right and wrong on a task. Even though [a court] can legally punish an “action,” it should not force in any case to change one’s faith with the mobilization of direct or indirect forceful methods. It should not enforce one the idea on the observation of Republic of Korea law or confession on it against one’s own faith, either.”
2. Yang Yoon-Mo started a hunger strike again.
More sad news on his decision on prison hunger strike was delivered by a peace activist, Kim Young-Jae on Feb. 2, the next day:
“We just came out from the Jeju Prison where we made a visit to Prof. Yang Yoon-Mo.
Prof. Yang said he would enter fast soon to claim the nullification on the government report on the result of simulation (* Jan. 31) and to revoke the Jeju naval base project. Even though Fr. Mun Jeong-Hyeon and chairman Go Gwon-Il made every sort to stop him, he was so resolute to say he would continue fast (* He made a fast in the evening of the day of his arrest, Feb. 1). He says that he will not go out prison unless he dies.
He says he is no guilty and he cannot acknowledge his imprisonment because it is a compromise.
He and all of us were wet in the edges of the eyelids. He also said he was so sorry to all of us to make us concern about him. We so concern about his health.”
(Kim Young-Jae, Feb. 2 around noon)
3. We are all Yang Yoon-Mo!
By imprisoning him who is like a symbol of the Gureombi Rock and who has brought the fire of the struggle throughout the nation and world, the oligarchies intend to oppress the opposition struggle against the naval base project. They also want to block the Jeju from being the Demilitarized Peace Island but to put it under the corporation monopoly capital like Samsung and military.
If Prof. Yang Yoon-Mo is the Gureombi Rock, we are all Yang Yoon-Mo. The oligarchies lost. We believe in that the fire of the struggle against the naval base project will grow nationwide and globally.
Lindis Percy, a co-representative of the CAAB, UK says:
‘What an inspirational and courageous man – we will light a candle when we gather each Tuesday (now for 13 years) outside the main gates of …NSA Menwith Hill – here in the North of England – we are thinking of him and hold hands in solidarity with him.…’
In the last part of Dungree’s video, ‘Why Yang Yoon-Mo went to the Prison,’ prof. Yang says on the Gureombi Rock (translated). The video starts with the subtitle that reads, “Yang Yoon-Mo is the Gureombi Rock, Gangjeong.” The title of the background song is ‘a beautiful man.’
“If we can enter the Gureombi Rock again, we can pick and eat mulberry leaves and garlic. If we eat Bangpungcho (a kind of herb) and mugwort there in the new spring, our bodies become strong. Those made me strong. I can do even 100 days’ fast, beyond 70 days’ fast last year. The source of such energy is nothing but the Gureombi. But if the Gureombi is destroyed, I think my summon as a movie critic also ends. The truth is that we should stop the naval base so that the Gureombi becomes a spiritual place for the world. Please give us a chance that the Gureombi can be reevaluated as a cultural treasure. The naval base construction entering into the Island is an illegal construction destroying the spirit of Constitution and legalism.”
Prof. Yang Yoon Mo has not responded five police calls before his imprisonment. He seems to have decided prison life again.
His words on the Gureombi Rock in 2011 can be heard here.
Here is another video by Kim Minsou, a young activist and artist who made the video upon Yang’s arrest on April 6, 2011. Kim met Prof. Yang for the first time in 2009 when Yang was living in the tent of the Gureombi Rock where he was friendly with the villagers, especially with uncle, Kim Jong-Hwan who was also imprisoned for more than three months in 2011. Yang is very gentle and child-like but he is also very resolute in the struggles.
You can see some beauty of the Gureombi Rock and Yang’s life there in the video.
For Kim, Yang is like a teacher and father.
(Post information by Kim Bok-Chul who was released on Jan. 3, 2013 after 206 days in prison)
Below is a copy of a poem that has been put in Yang’s vigil tent in the Joongduk coast, Gangjeong village. The title is “Sisterhood.” It is a poem of love between the Joongduk Sea, the land-filled-planned naval base area, and a man who wants to save the Sea. The writer is a woman who calls the man as her brother-in-law and the sea, as her sister.
She cries whenever it is a deep night. The Joongduk Sea.
Laying down Gangjeong in her belly who has been scratched and wounded
The Joongduk sea cries lulling and calming down it
Have you ever heard her crying sound
My sister, Joongduk Sea
With tears let inside her
A man who has been captured by that tears
Has successfully recognized her being in a serious illness
Crouching his body in a small common bed
Being happy since he is with her
Hei Hei, my innocent brother-in-law
Offering a bowl of warm rice to them
Wanted to honor their love
The summary of his imprisonments
Prof. Yang Yoon-Mo, born in Jeju, 1956, a former President of the Korean Association of Film Critics.
2008: Started to live in Gangjeong village after the participation in the Gangjeong villagers’ Island pilgrim for seven nights and eight days.
2009: Started to live in the tent that would be nicknamed as the ‘Joongdeoksa(Jeongdeok temple) on the Gureombi Rock. He stays there until his arrest in 2011.
2010: Imprisonment by the arrest of Dec. 27, 2010 and release of Jan. 9, 2011.
On Dec. 27, 2010, there was a large size bringing-in of materials for the building of residential houses inside the naval base project building complex, which could be said to be the start of the construction in earnest. All the participants who joined the press conference denouncing it were arrested. All were released on the night, except for Yang Yoon-Mo. He had been charged of obstruction of business for the reason to stop the car of the ex-Minister of National Defense, Kim Tae-Young, on March 20, 2010 and damage on navy public information board. The court decision against him, regarding those incidents, had been 1,900,000 won fine but he did not pay. Upon his arrest on Dec. 27, he was imprisoned due to unpaid fines. Even though Yang expressed his will to compensate the fines by prison labor, villagers and some people gathering money for him, made him released on Jan. 9, 2011.
2011: Violently arrested for the reason that he entered under the construction car, with the charge of obstruction of business. Annexed with other charges such as violence in the other incidents, he was imprisoned for 59 days’ until he was released by the court decision of one year six months imprisonment and two year suspension on June 1. At the time, he made more than 74 days’ hunger strike.
2012: Arrested on Jan. 30. Seeing that the police getting order from the construction company thugs, allowed the construction trucks’ entry at the risk of young female activists’ lives, he was infuriated. At the time, he was very weak in health but entered under a construction truck that was illegally making turn at the corner of a bridge, for the expression of protest against illegal construction. He was arrested under the charge of obstruction of business. He made more than 40 days’ hunger strike until his release on March 20 when he got the court decision of 10 months’ imprisonment and two year suspension.
2013: Arrested and jailed directly from the court on the trial of appeal on Feb. 1, as mentioned above. Since the evening of the day, he began hungers strike in protest of the government’s false report on the result of simulation ‘show,’ on Jan. 31 and for the revocation of the Jeju naval base project. He is called as the Gangjeong, Gureombi itself.