[EDITORIALS]It happened in a democracy

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[EDITORIALS]It happened in a democracy

The prosecution is in unprecedented turmoil arising from the beating to death of a murder suspect. It is for the first time that a minister of justice and a prosecutor general resigned at the same time to accept responsibility for an incident. The prosecutor in charge of the investigation and his immediate superior, the senior prosecutor in charge of violent crimes, have tendered their resignations. It is likely that senior prosecutors in their line of command will be punished. In the history of the prosecution, it is the first time that a prosecutor in charge of a crime case has been arrested.

The beating to death of a suspect under investigation is "a deplorable incident," as President Kim Dae-jung said. "Such an incident could take place in the days when our society was under dictatorship. How could it happen in a democratic society?" President Kim scolded. It is understandable that the president, who takes pride in having dedicated his life to the promotion of human rights and democracy, felt bitter that such a thing could happen while he is in office.

The prosecution is stirred by the repercussions of the incident. Prosecutors might have never imagined that the scope and degree of punishment would be so wide and intense. It is not for corruption or irregular procedures but for a wrong investigation method that the prosecutor in charge was arrested. It is especially frustrating for them since their colleague had traced the murder suspects for years and had reached the concluding stage with the arrest of suspects.

But the shameful practice of torture and other cruelties should be abolished once and for all. The prosecution should, at the same time, devise advanced investigation methods to cope with violent crimes.

It is time to restore the reputation of the prosecution. It is a serious problem for the nation that the symbol of public power is in disarray. It is not desirable that the honor and spirit of the prosecutors are soiled. At this important time when the nation is anticipating a presidential election, the prosecution should not be left adrift. Prosecutors should eliminate internal problems such as conflict and antagonism, and the political community and the public should support their efforts.
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