Update: Mr. Lee Jong-Hwa was released from the court after 55 days in jail as of June 21. The court sentence on him at 10:30 am was 6 months imprisonment but two year’s probation.
Magaret Sekaggya, UN Special rapporteur on the situation on Human Rights visited Gangjeong on June 4, 2013. In the press conference on June 7, she mentioned in relation to Gangjeong that the residents’ opinions have been ignored and their greatest complaint is on the absence of consultation by the government with them; that it was turned out that the ROK state power abuses its power through the use of violence and over-excessive arrest, accusation (especially with the charge of ‘obstruction of business’), detention, imprisonment and charge of fines/ damage compensation; that the people’s basic right in rally and protest is limited and expression of freedom is oppressed; and that unjust process of deportation against international activists have been done. Her official report on the situation of human rights including those of Gangjeong is to be reported next March.
Will her points be reflected in the coming days in the fields including court where currently three conscientious prisoners from Gangjeong are among many of the charged for struggle?
Here are summaries on the latest trials on the three. All are currently held in the Jeju Prison. Each of them hit 141 days, 71 days, 55 days, respectively as of June 21, 2013: Mr. Yang Yoon-Mo ( Prisoner No. 301), Mr. Kim Young-Jae (No. 435) and Mr. Lee Jong-Hwa (No. 125)
1. Yang Yoon-Mo’s trial on June 5
Trial on Yang Yoon-Mo was held in the Jeju court around 10:30 am on June 5, the next day of her visit.
It is a different one from the trial that he was directly arrested from the appeal court on Feb. 1, this year. The prosecutor has accused him under the charges that he damaged the gate of the project committee building complex on Sept. 14, made injury on Aug. 15, and made obstruction of business by joint power on Aug. 12, 17 and Oct. 15, last year.
Upon those charges, lawyer Kang Gi-Tak said that it is not by joint power; it is not damage but scratch therefore the demanded repair fee of 800,000 KRW (about $ 800 USD) is unreasonably huge; Yang has never used slanders and grabbed by the throat of personnel. He has neither put injury; It can never be an obstruction of business since it is a self-defense in protest to interruption on Catholic mass, further there was no entry/exit of construction vehicles; there was no direct blow on the victim; it is a self-defense on illegal and unjust naval base construction (destruction). He also expressed disagreement on many accusation items. He also said he could not acknowledge the record by the CCTV since it is in violation of the law on the protection of personal information (He said the CCTV-recorded proof materials submitted by the accusers are illegally collected.) In the next trial at 2 pm, July 17, there will be examination on witness and submission on proof document etc.
2. Kim Young-Jae’s trial on June 10: The matter of the CCTV
There was a trial on Mr. Kim Young-Jae (Jeju Prison, No. 435) who hit his 60th imprisonment day on June 10. The trial is on the cases of climbing a Samsung C & T-built caisson dock in Hwasoon port in protest of naval base building on Sept. 6, 2012, the opening day of 2012 WCC Jeju, and of obstruction business that he was charged in more than 16 cases. In the seat of the accused, Fr. Kim Sung-Hwan who was one of five along with Mr. Kim Young-Jae on Sept. 6, 2012, joined Kim Young-Jae. Another person, Mr. Lee Young was not present for personal reason.
The other two, Rev. Jeong Yeon-Gil and Mr. Park Suk-Jin have had separate trials as they were both imprisoned on the day. Both were released after 98 days last year. Mr. Park Suk-Jin was imprisoned again on May 15 for the charge of violation on bail condition but was released by court decision on May 30. He got three year’s probation.
Considered of the schedule that all three can join, the next trial is 2 pm, Thursday, July 25. On the day, Mr. Kim Young-Jae would hit 105th day in prison unless he is not released on bail.
The points mentioned by a lawyer in relation to the charge on ‘obstruction of business’ were similar to the cases of Yang Yoon-Mo. Lawyer Kang Gi-Tak who is also a lawyer to Yang pointed out that:
- There could be a damage for an accused as the accusation document does not mention on specific sites and concrete charges on each individual despite the fact that the Sept. 6, 2012 incident was a joint protest by five.
- In relation to other cases charged of obstruction of business, it cannot be called as obstruction of business. Even though it is conceded to the danger and/or influence applicable to the obstruction of business, it was the influence to the 3rd party therefore not direct act to the sufferers ( * truck drivers)
The remarkable point in the trial on the day was the lawyer Kim In-Sook’s investigation on the CCTVs (closed-circuit televisions) and the testimonies by the personnel from Daelim and Samsung regarding the process of recording and collecting photo and video material. (For the issue of the CCTV in Gangjeong, please see the bottom)
There were three witness-two from Daelim and one from Samsung). All of those are the subjects who accused Mr. Kim Young-Jae and probably others, too, for the charge of obstruction of business. Mr. Choi from Daelim has been in charge of interior jobs of the company since Feb., 2010. Mr. Lee is a managing director of construction since June, 2011 and Mr. Park is a director of quality control in the Samsung C & T since Feb., 2011.
The lawyer Kim In-Sook’ investigation to each was focused on the CCTV. While she is informed that there are about 10 CCTVs in the project building complex and parts of those were installed by Samsung and Daelim, she asked them:
_Who MANAGE(s) the CCTV? From when to when? By the word, ‘management,’ she said that it meant everything including recording, zoom manipulation, safekeeping, submission of CCTV-recorded materials to police & prosecutor etc.
_ What is the purpose of the CCTV?
_What is the reason of submitting copies not the original materials? How can you prove that those copies are same with the originals? (She mentioned that there has never been raised an issue of original or copy before)
_How is the process of submitting materials to police and prosecutors?
It was clear to many people that the accusers/ witness were avoiding specific mentions in their testimonies/ replies to her.
But some of their answers were that:
_They do not know well about the matter of installation on the CCTVs.
_It is a security company called “Geoam,” that is in charge of management and has workered in Gangjeong for about two years (* An activist later told us that it has been about a year that the company Geoam worked in Gangjoeng) The Geoam manipulates zoom.
_The purpose of CCTV is to leave the evidence of damages INDOOR from outside
_The original is saved in the machine. They or their junior worker (in that case they confirm the final) or Geoam they ask to find CCTV materials on the specific accused on the specific dates; and they copy the found or received materials in the CD or USB driver themselves. One of them says it is same with the original since he does not know editing technology. Mr. Park from Samsung said that he himself has taken lots of records with camcorder/cameras and original records are kept safe.
Given the testimonies and article in the bottom, it would be interesting to watch the next trial and court’s final decision someday in the future.
Otherwise, Mr. Kim Young-Jae volunteered a remark at the end of the trial. He said to the judge:
“Please know that it is an only protest way for the peace keepers to sit in as a barricade themselves in front of the construction main gate. Since most construction vehicles are used for illegal construction(destruction), my act is a self-defense to protest to such illegal activities. That should be pointed out are: undemocratic behavior, unjust cancellation on absolute preservation area and injustice of environmental destruction.”
3. Trial on Lee Jong-Hwa on June 11
On June 11, there was a trial on Mr. Lee Jong-Hwa who hit 45th day in the Jeju prison (No. 125) on the day. He has another trial pending in the higher court.
The prosecutor demanded a sentence of 1 year imprisonment. The court decision will be at 10 am, Friday.
Mr. Lee Jong-Hwa said on June 5, the next day of the visit by the UN Human Rights rapporteur that he had considered fast upon her visit but gave up considering the heath of Yang Yoon-Mo who is recovering from 52 days’ fast that he ended on March 23.
Otheriwse, on June 5, a woman who had been arrested in Seoul on May 31 and then taken to Jeju Prison on June 1 was released from the court on June 5. She is told not to have responded to police call for her protest during the blast of Gureombi Rock last year. She got sentence of 2.5 million KRW fines. She did not want to disclose her name.
The below is a summary on the trial of Mr. Lee Jong-Hwa on June 5
The accused entered into the Jeju for farming in 2011. He is a writer and his activities are nothing to do with the Jeonjoo branch of the Solidarity for Peace And Reunification of Korea. The accused stated that he would act as possible as through legal procedures in relation to the opposition activities against the naval base project.
The accused was indicted for the charge that he has not responded several times to the police call. But it was because he was in other trial when he could not be present to the police call on April 26, 2013. The reason that he worked in the oil station was because of his plan to live in Jeju. Even though the prosecutor says that he committed obstruction of business by power, what he did was merely to take 100 bows in front of the construction main gates. Further it was merely 3 to 30 minutes that he was sitting there. In other words, the time of obstruction of business was short with small damage.
‘During the imprisonment, I thought there needed a re-examination on the justice matter on government policy, thinking of the damage that the villagers have suffered from.
I was in charge to educate youth prisoner under trials. They are the ones who became to commit crimes as their parents are irregular or laid-off workers. I feel pain that our children is utilized as the tools by the divided situation of Korea. If we use such lots of resource and money for human beings’ co-prosperity and peace co-existence, that our Constitution states, the children in the juvenile reformatory would get the jobs and painful things would be reduced.
As Gorbachov has visited, Jeju is an Island of Peace to be demilitarized. I came to Jeju for farming but now I do my best for peaceful Gangjeong. I think this place should be a site for communication and I hope prosecutors consider it together. Our anguish together here in this court would be the basis for belief and hope.
Whatever court decision comes to me, I will not give up to express my righteous faith, which is legal right given to me, and to realize human being’s co-existence and peace and “Hongikingan (* meaning ‘benefit all human beings’), the ideology on which our country founded.
The Judge said, The accused has no other crime record except for light fine sentences and no other past record in relation to violation in rally or protest. The court decision will be at 10 am, June 21, Friday.
At the end of trials on both days of June 10 and 11, people held one man protest in front of court for one hour respectively.
Reference: The Matter of the CCTV
The Newscham, Jan. 30, 2013 reports regarding 24 hour CCTV for monitoring and control of people, installed in the whole Gangjeong village. The below is an excerpted translation of the article.
[..] When it was disclosed on Sept. 13, 2012 that the police installed camera and notebook computer, for recording the area of the main gate of the naval base project committee building complex, it brought a huge shock.
In the areas of the Jeju naval base project committee building complex main gate, construction site main gate, and the fence to the Gangjeong port, CCTVs are installed and operated for 24 hours. The CCTV-recorded stuffs are used as evidence to accuse villagers and activists under the charge of obstruction of business. The Daelim and Samsung C & T accuse villagers with the evidence of CCTV stuffs. However, the CCTVs are being illegally operated and infringe villagers’ privacy.
In the direction board of the CCTV installed in the main gate of the project committee building complex, it reads “it is recording main facilities of INNER site for the facility safety and crime prevention for 24 hours.” However, different from the direction board, the CCTVs are recording toward OUTSIDE not the INNER field main facilities. Not only that. It is manipulated in recording and monitoring by option such as by zooming or continuous focusing on one-man protest. It is in violation on the items of prohibitions on discretionary manipulation and filming others than those for purpose, stipulated in the law on the protection of personal information.
The subjects of installation, operation, and monitoring are not clear, either. On Oct. 9, last year, Lee Sang-Kyu, National Assembly man, disclosed the fact that a security service company employed by the Samsung C & T was cancelled of permisiion on Dec. 22, 2011, for its connection to violence; but it resumed operation gettimg the permission on security business again merely changing its company name to Reall S & G; and then was cancelled of permission again. However, in the CCTV direction board in front of main gate of the naval base project building complex, representative of Reall S & G whose license was cancelled is still marked as the subject responsible for management
Then, which subject(s) is continuously monitoring for 24 hours the screens of the CCTVs that record the main gate of the project building complex, entry-exit door of construction (destruction) gate, vicinity of the fence to the Gangjeong port. Paik Shin-Ok, a lawyer, has stated that there has been a testimony [in the court] that the navy and Samsung C & T workers are monitoring those in real time. If the subject of installation and operation is not the navy but the navy is monitoring those in real time, it is clearly a crime act since it is violation of prohibition on provision to the 3rd party, stipulated in the law on the protection on personal information.