&#91EDITORIALS&#93The arrest of Kim Dae-eop

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[EDITORIALS]The arrest of Kim Dae-eop

Kim Dae-eop, the man who raised the allegation that Grand National Party presidential candidate Lee Hoi-chang's sons obtained draft exemptions illegally, was detained Friday on libel and defamation charges. Thus opens a new chapter in the investigation of the draft-dodging allegation.

In the greater scheme of things, Mr. Kim's detention is just the beginning of the investigation. More than 20 cases related to the allegation are pending, and the charges against Mr. Kim do not constitute the gist of the matter. His case must not be wrapped up without a thorough investigation.

Mr. Kim's detention inevitably lowers the credibility of his assertions during the presidential campaign. The prosecution gave the impression that it was hesitating whether to reveal the result of its investigation. Even after the suspicion was raised that the tape Mr. Kim submitted to back his claim had been distorted, the prosecution apparently made no progress on investigating the matter.

The prosecution should focus on the core of the issue at hand. This means figuring out what among Mr. Kim's assertions is true. As President-elect Roh Moo-hyun said during a recent briefing by the Justice Ministry, the prosecution needs to confront the matter directly. Contrary to his claim, the circumstances indicate that Mr. Kim did not raise the allegation because of his desire to see justice done. The prosecution needs to find out why Mr. Kim raised the allegation and who backed him.

Substantial evidence now exists to prove that certain political forces and elements within the prosecution supported Mr. Kim. They called him a hero. They notified the prosecution in advance of Mr. Kim's decision to turn himself in voluntarily. With the detention of Mr. Kim, they cannot avoid shouldering moral responsibility. Yet they still wield influence in the political world. At this time of demands for political and criminal justice reform, the prosecution should remember that the Korean people are closely watching the way this investigation plays out and regard it as a barometer for measuring the incoming administration's level of ethics.
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