[EDITORIALS]Questions on prosecution

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[EDITORIALS]Questions on prosecution

Controversy has arisen over whether the Blue House put pressure on the minister of justice, urging him to do favors for Kim Hong-up, the second son of President Kim Dae-jung.

Reports say that after the Central Investigation Department of the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office expanded the scope of its investigation on alleged irregularities involving Kim Hong-up, a high-ranking Blue House official urged the minister to exercise his supervisory power over the prosecution to thwart the inquiry. He is said to have presented the logic that "the arrest of two sons is too harsh."

The question of whether the Blue House put pressure on the justice minister is not something to be passed over lightly. The Blue House, of course, strongly denies the allegation. But the circumstances surrounding the justice minister (he consulted with one of his predecessors for advice and listened to the opinion of senior officials in his ministry) supports the accusation.

The incident, if true, would be an egregious violation of the nation's law-enforcement apparatus. The demand to minimize investigations into corruption charges against the president's son has angered the nation. The Blue House has said, "We should watch the prosecution's investigations. It is not right to argue pro and con while the prosecutors investigate." We ask whether the words of the Blue House were nothing but empty rhetoric?

This is not the first time we have heard that the Blue House intervened and put pressure on investigators in cases involving the president's son. One good example is the investigation into Yoo Jin-geol, known as Kim Hong-up's butler. When he was hospitalized in May, a Blue House staff member asked him if prosecutors used force during his interrogation.

The truth should be brought to light and those accountable should be punished severely. The Blue House's insistence that the arrest of two sons is proof that there was no exercise of pressure is not convincing. President Kim's decision to maintain the neutrality of the prosecution by deciding to dismiss all prosecutors from the Blue House should not compromised by Blue House officials.
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