[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]A daughter’s defenseI write concerning my father, Dr. Un Yong Kim, vice president of the International Olympic Committee, not only on my own behalf but also in response to many informed Koreans who have asked me to speak out on his (and other) prosecutions and how they impact the safety and well-being of innocent people in this country from all walks of life.
Recently, while denying an outright reversal of his sentence from a lower court, the Seoul High Court openly recognized Dr. Kim’s many significant contributions to Korean society through sports diplomacy and implications for economic development, moderately reduced the original sentence and enabled a further appeal to the Supreme Court. Our friends and associates join my family in the hope that justice finally will prevail at this ultimate level of jurisprudence.
However, as a practicing lawyer myself, I am compelled to comment on the lengths to which the prosecution went to distort the case against Dr. Kim. Their charges were based on page after page of the most ordinary, even trivial, transactions which are conducted honestly and openly by businesses and enterprises across this country every day, without fear of prosecution or criticism.
Entries for such items as employee salaries, payment of telephone bills, newspaper subscription fees, compensation to cleaning women, as well as for travel and entertainment of prominent visitors from other countries on behalf of taekwondo and Korean Olympic aspirations: These were presented as evidence of “bribes” and corrupt activity.
Conversely, there was not a shred of evidence that Dr. Kim personally enriched himself from his life’s work to advance the interests of Korean sport and peace on our peninsula through sports diplomacy. Nor could there have been, because none exist.
Despite the fact that high-ranking officials from Adidas bravely contradicted the unreliable testimony of those who feared prosecution themselves if they did not cooperate with prosecutors, and that at least two witnesses claimed that they were coerced, the unfortunate fact remains that zealous and unchecked prosecutions are more the rule than the exception in Korean courtrooms today. Indeed, we begin to see critical comments in the Korean press and on broadcast media regarding this situation, where none previously existed.
Many observers believe that the case against Dr. Kim could not have resulted without false charges against him following the lost bid by Pyeongchang to host the 2010 Winter Olympics. As his daughter, I also appeal to the authorities not only for justice, but for mercy as well.
by Helen Kim