Pressuring prosecutors

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Pressuring prosecutors

With the results of the investigation into the BBK case due to be released soon, the political arena is pressing the prosecution hard. It is understandable to some extent that political parties and their presidential candidates are hyper-sensitive; the investigation could have a critical impact on the presidential election. But they must stop pressuring the prosecution.
Some 60 lawmakers of the United New Democratic Party visited the Supreme Public Prosecutors’ Office on Wednesday and read a declaration. “The prosecution must summon and investigate the Grand National Party presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak immediately,” they said. The politicians met a senior prosecutor and said that they were there to protect the prosecution from being pressured by the Grand National Party. But that is a flimsy argument. It was the UNDP that first reported Lee to the prosecutors’ office on the charge of stock price manipulation.
The lawmakers who visited the prosecution used to belong to the ruling party until recently and some of them served as ministers in the incumbent administration. It is obvious that they want to wield their own influence on the investigation. That is a real source of political pressure on the prosecution.
The Grand National Party is not much different. Some 30 Grand National politicians visited the same prosecutors’ office yesterday. They said they were only concerned because of pressure the UNDP is applying to prosecutors. They said that they urged the prosecutor’s office to carry out a just and fair investigation. In reality, they are saying one thing but meaning something else. They are pressuring the prosecution to release investigation results in a way that would help the GNP.
In August, some 40 Grand Nationals staged a protest in front of the same office, shortly after the prosecution concluded an investigation involving Lee Myung-bak’s alleged ownership of the Dogok-dong land site in Seoul. Likewise, as soon as the current investigation into the BBK case was announced, the GNP threatened a “people’s uprising” over the matter.
The behavior of both parties is pathetic. Both of them say they are worried that the prosecutors will be affected by outside pressure. But their visits only serve to put more pressure on the prosecution. They shout for neutrality and independence in the investigation but they are actually demanding that the prosecution side with them. People in the political arena must show some self-restraint.
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