[EDITORIALS]21st-century water tortureThe nightmare of water torture has resurfaced. While the Seoul District Prosecutors Office was investigating a murder suspect, the interrogators reportedly used water torture on him.
"During the investigation, water torture seemed to have been used," the head of the internal affairs unit at the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office admitted belatedly Friday. Fifteen years have passed since Park Jong-cheol, a student activist, died after interrogation including water torture. We cannot believe such a practice is still going on.
Water torture is an inhuman practice that cannot be accepted under any circumstances. Forcibly pouring water into a person's nostrils or ducking a person's head underwater are a vestige of the Japanese colonial era; those who have experienced the torture once say they now fear bathtubs and water jars.
The prosecution has no right to keep its title if it used water torture as an investigative method. The prosecutors have surrendered the last of their dignity and conscience. If they use water torture to get confessions, how can they possibly talk about social justice? This government's motto has been the defense of human rights ?that is a national disgrace.
When the news broke first about water torture of suspects, we did not believe such an incident could happen in the country whose president was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for improving human rights. Although the interrogators are still denying any involvement, the prosecution has already admitted to it. One witness saw the wet upper body of the suspect, leaving no room for doubt. What we need now is verification and stern punishment.
The method of investigating criminal suspects must be changed in order to protect the human rights of the suspects. Lawyers must be allowed to be present at interrogations. The prosecution should be given the right to summon witnesses and the right to punish those who give false testimony.
The facilities and equipment for scientific investigations must be acquired and criminal investigators must be trained so that confessions are not so important. Basically, though, every prosecutor must have the courage to defend the people's basic rights.