[EDITORIALS]Unworthy of the honorThe Presidential Commission on Suspicious Deaths has officially recognized the death of Kim Jun-bae, a former senior official at Hanchongnyun, a nationwide student movement organization, resulted from the government's unlawful execution of its power on the democratization movement. It also recommended that the government revise the clause in the National Security Act that was applied in labeling Hanchongnyun pro-North Korea. The recommendation could provoke controversy.
Mr. Kim died in October 1997 after falling from a cable outside an apartment where he was hiding. The cable provided an escape route from police officers who had burst into his 13th floor apartment. Mr. Kim was then a student at Kwangju University and was on the lam, following a prosecution warrant for his arrest for allegedly violating a clause in the National Security Act that prohibits praising, joining, encouraging, or making and distributing materials for anti-government organizations.
At issue here is whether we should recognize a person like Mr. Kim as a participant of the democratization movement. After Hanchong-nyun incited violence at Yonsei University campus in 1996, the Supreme Court decreed in 1998 that it was an organization benefiting the enemy.
The panel said there was no such verdict by the Supreme Court on Hanchongnyun at the time of Mr. Kim's case. The commission also said there is a problem with the verdict itself since it was based on the National Security Act, which is not congruent with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that South Korea joined. That is why the commission recommended the act be revised or abolished.
Those who have violated laws can be recognized as participants of the democratization movement. But Hanchongnyun's extremely violent beliefs, its inhumanity and its pursuit of its beliefs even with violence were far from the ideology of the student movement. Although the organization has changed a bit, the verdict of the Supreme Court is intact.
It would be inconsistent with the public's mood to recognize one of this group's officials as a democracy leader. Has the panel forgotten the controversy last April when it recognized 46 students of Dongui University in Busan as members of the democratization movement?