[EDITORIALS]Good work by truth panel

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[EDITORIALS]Good work by truth panel

Testimony has emerged that appears to make it much more probable that Professor Tsche Chong-kil of Seoul National University was killed in 1973 by interrogators while under questioning on spying charges. As in the Susie Kim case, in which the Agency for National Security Planning turned a murder into a spy case, this was a crime committed by public authorities. Opinion is growing, therefore, that the government must not only restore victims' honor but must pay compensation.

The Presidential Truth Commission on Suspicious Deaths has secured testimony from a former senior official of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency who said, "I reported to my superiors that the interrogators pushed Professor Tsche out of the fire-escape stairs on the seventh floor." The commission also said they found that all documents, including those drawn up at the death scene, were fabricated. The commission said it believes that interrogators who were questioning the professor pushed him out of the building while torturing him.

Although the testimony is indirect, it is significant in that it supports the persistent allegation by his family and friends that he might have been murdered. Not only in the professor's case, but in its other activities, the truth commission may provide the momentum to bring to light the truth behind all types of suspicious deaths that occurred during our dark ages of human rights.

We should caution against regarding the two cases as bygone issues. The methods used by the current National Intelligence Service illustrate that they only changed the name of the agency and not much else. It is time for the National Intelligence Service to take a good, deep, honest look at itself, admit its mistakes and show that it is a thoroughly reformed institution.

We also believe that the government should take full responsibility, including to the extent of paying compensation, for any human rights violations by the government regardless of the statute of limitations.
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