Handle security with care

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Handle security with care

The Seoul Central District Court yesterday rejected the police request for further investigation into a 65-year-old veteran scholar, Oh Sei-chull, and six others, all of whom belong to the leftist Socialist Workers League of Korea.

On Tuesday, Seoul police sought the arrest warrants to investigate their alleged violation of the National Security Law by forming an anti-state organization and publishing anti-government literature.

The court made a good judgement. Restricting fraternity and freedom of expression by broad interpretation of the state security law is clearly against the Constitution and the spirit of the times.

It is natural for police to arrest people who violate a law. However, police need strict neutrality and prudence when investigating cases related to the National Security Law because sometimes state security law-related cases lead to allegations of “target investigations” and “diverting the public’s anger over the president’s failed policies by stirring up a red scare.”

While asking for arrest warrants, police said the group intended to build a socialist government in the South and overthrow the North to build a single nation for socialist laborers.

In response to the request, the court said that the evidence police sent is not sufficient to determine whether or not the group threatens national security and public safety or exerts a harmful influence on the liberal democratic society.

That means the police investigation was unsatisfactory.

After the rejection, police said they will conduct an additional investigation to find more reliable evidence before they again seek arrest warrants. The comments practically admitted that the first investigation was flawed. Why didn’t they take scrupulous care in the first place?

That’s why the nation’s progressive political parties and civic groups argue that the Lee Myung-bak administration is abusing its law enforcement authority to control society.

Police should follow the court’s decision humbly and remember this case when making similar investigations related to the National Security Law.

Prosecutors should also listen attentively to what the court said about the case.

According to the judicial precedent of the Supreme Court, the application of the National Security Law should always be strict in order to protect and respect basic human rights.
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