[EDITORIALS]Probe charges against scholarThe National Intelligence Service has practically concluded its investigation on Song Du-yul, a Korean-born German philosophy professor who was banned from his homeland for decades. The intelligence agency will reportedly turn the case over to the prosecution in the near future. The prosecution will have to verify the truth about allegations involving Mr. Song and decide whether he is criminally accountable.
Mr. Song reportedly admitted to the spy agency that he had visited North Korea in 1994 at Pyeongyang’s invitation and was called Kim Chul-su. But he denied being an alternate member of the Workers’ Party’s Politburo, Mr. Song’s lawyer said. Some news reports have asserted that Mr. Song admitted to joining the party in the 1970s.
Before he returned to Seoul, Mr. Song persisted in denying that he had another identity. He also filed a defamation and damage suit in a South Korean court against Hwang Jang-yop, a high-profile North Korean defector, saying that Mr. Hwang’s calling him Kim Chul-su damaged his reputation. The court did not accept his plea on grounds that it lacked substantive evidence. Now that it is revealed that he visited North Korea as Kim Chul-su, how can we believe in his words?
It is the prosecution that must clarify the truth. Yet, words of leniency for Mr. Song are leaking from the agency and the prosecution. Recently, Justice Minister Kang Gum-sil asjed, “Even if he is Kim Chul-su, will we be able to punish him?” Some raise the possibility of not prosecuting the case if Mr. Song submits a letter of conversion from communism, or postponing prosecution in line with procedures in similar cases in the past.
Why are we hearing more about a favorable resolution for Mr. Song when there is a long way to go to determine the truth? Is this what the government intends to do? The prosecution must handle the case strictly by the law. If Mr. Song’s past acts violated the laws, he must be held accountable. If he apologizes and shows remorse, it can be taken into account that Mr. Song is a foreign national and his case can be handled in a way that is convincing to the people.