&#91EDITORIALS&#93Above the law?

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&#91EDITORIALS&#93Above the law?

A move to save Ahn Hee-jung and Yeom Dong-yeon from being prosecuted for accepting bribes is troubling. They are advisors to President Roh Moo-hyun; the move not only threatens the rule of law but also violates the legal system of our nation. We are shocked to find that leading lights of our society, including lawmakers, lawyers and Roman Catholic priests, are leading the movement.
Two hundred persons formed a “Citizen’s Defense Council for Ahn Hee-jung” on Thursday and demanded that the prosecution treat him leniently. Fifteen ruling party members, including a legislator, Im Jong-seok, criticized the prosecution when a detention warrant for Mr. Ahn was rejected by the court. About 100 politicians are also collecting signatures appealing for Mr. Yeom’s release.
The organizers of the campaigns claim that both Mr. Ahn and Mr. Yeom are being investigated because of distorted reports by some biased news media and a political offensive by the opposition party. They insist that the men are victims of reverse discrimination because they are close to President Roh. The defense council called Mr. Ahn a “prisoner of conscience” and criticized the proseuction for applying for a warrant against him for a second time.
After the warrant involving questionable money was rejected, the prosecution found evidence of more money transfers to Mr. Ahn and applied for a new detention order. Mr. Yeom was arrested for accepting 288 million won in return for influence-peddling. We wonder how a person suspected of accepting money from Nara Merchant Bank, under investigation for bribery, can be called a prisoner of conscience.
These politically motivated campaigns to save the two men from criminal charges is nothing more than an attempt to put pressure on the prosecution and the courts by mobilizing public opinion. The campaigns are being led by ruling party leaders and aides who contributed to Mr. Roh’s election.
The campaign, despite MDP calls for a neutral and independent prosecution, smacks of a double standard. It should be stopped immediately.
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