Dissidents, family get W7.1 bln compensation from state for false subversion charge

January 13, 2011 12:14 pm 

By Kim Eun-jung

SEOUL, Jan. 13 — A Seoul court ordered the government to pay three dissidents and their families some 7.1 billion won (US$ 6.3 million) in compensation for their suffering from false subversion charges under the military government of the 1970s, court officials said Thursday.

Lee Gang-chul, a former presidential aide under the Roh Moo-hyun administration, and two other liberal activists were arrested and indicted in 1974 on charges of masterminding a riot at the order of an underground communist organization and pro-Pyongyang group in Japan. They were sentenced to 15 years in jail by a top court in 1975 and served their terms ranging from 11 months to more than seven years, then later released on parole.

The victims and their 28 family members sought a retrial at the recommendation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a special committee established to investigate past human rights atrocities, and filed a suit last year against the government seeking 8.3 billion in reparations after being acquitted of the charges.

The Seoul Central District Court said law enforcement agencies violated due process when arresting the defendants and had taken their confessions under duress. Also, evidence backing the subversion charge was insufficient and unconvincing, it said.

"The state should compensate the people directly concerned and their family members for the damage caused by the illegal conduct," the court said in a ruling.

The compensation includes 2.5 billion won in principal plus accumulated interest over 30 years, which amounts to 4.6 billion won. (PNA/Yonhap)

ALM/ebp

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