Police accused of torturing suspects

Home > National > Social Affairs

print dictionary print

Police accused of torturing suspects

Five police officers were questioned by prosecutors in southern Seoul yesterday on charges of torturing suspects and concealing evidence of it.

The investigation was carried out after the National Human Rights Commission of Korea said last week they received several petitions from people in May that stated they were tortured by Yangcheon police after being arrested.

After receiving the petition, the commission did a follow-up investigation that involved 32 people, including the petitioners and other men who were arrested, investigated by the Yangcheon police and sent to detention houses from last August to March this year. Most of the men were arrested for theft or drug-related crimes.

A man identified by his surname Lee, 45, said he was gagged with an unidentified object and cellophane tape and beaten while being forced to admit a crime in March. Other men testified that their “faces were stepped on by the police after being gagged with toilet paper or towels” and their “arms were yanked up behind their backs while they were handcuffed.”

Some said that they confessed to crimes to stop the pain when police wound up their faces with cellophane tape, stamped on their backs or forced their faces into cushions out of sight of the closed circuit television cameras.

The commission also said they were in possession of pictures of broken teeth and medical records to prove the men’s injuries.

During the commission’s investigation of the case, a CCTV camera in the room where the police allegedly tortured suspects was found to be facing the ceiling, and that the security system at the Yangcheon police station was missing 25 days’ worth of recordings. According to police and the commission, the records from all security cameras at the police station from March 9 to April 2 are missing.

The Yangcheon police said they informed the firm that installed the security cameras on April 2 of a malfunction in the video recorder machine, a day before the start of the prosecutors’ investigation into the torture case. The firm said the missing footage was from an “unknown malfunction of the machine.”

The police under investigation are also being accused of having prevented family members from visiting a man, Lim, 33, who was arrested by Yangcheon police in March.

“While Lim was in the custody of the Yangcheon police, his family tried to visit him but were turned away by police, who said ‘The prosecutors will not allow you to see him,’?” Lim’s lawyer, Kim Jeong-beom said. “I met with Lim six days after his arrest. His eyes were bloodshot and his face was swollen.” Kim said Lim’s family was allowed a visit on April 1, one day after Kim “insisted their wish be respected.” The prosecutors denied having turned down visitation requests.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency also did a separate inspection of the case, interrogating the five police officers for four days after the commission’s initial report last week.

By Kim Jeen-kyung, Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]
Related Korean Article

증거 드러나는 ‘양천서 고문 의혹’

“화면 속에 고문을 당하는 사람이 피해자 맞습니까.”

“어, 내 모습이 찍혔네요….”

지난달 서울남부지검의 한 조사실. 서울 양천경찰서에서 피의자로 조사를 받다가 고문을 당했다는 의혹을 제기한 A씨는 검찰이 내놓은 폐쇄회로TV(CCTV) 화면에서 자신의 모습을 발견했다. 2월 26일 양천서의 한 조사실에서 취조를 당하는 장면이었다. CCTV 화면에는 경찰관이 A씨에게 등쪽으로 수갑을 채우고 팔을 위로 꺾어 올리는 이른바 ‘날개 꺾기’를 하는 장면이 담겨 있었다.

이 같은 증거를 확보한 서울남부지검은 20일 특수 절도 등 혐의 피의자 20여 명을 고문한 의혹이 제기된 서울 양천경찰서 경찰관 5명을 피의자 신분으로 불러 추궁했다. 경찰관들은 “고문이나 가혹 행위라고 할 만한 폭행은 없었다”고 혐의를 부인한 것으로 전해졌다. 이들은 “일부 물리적 행위가 있었더라도 피의자들이 저항하거나 자해를 하는 것을 막기 위한 불가피한 조치였다”고 해명했다. 하지만 검찰은 이르면 21일 독직폭행 등 혐의로 이들에 대해 구속영장을 청구할 방침이다.

  • 한글 기사 보기

  • Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
    with the Korea JoongAng Daily
    help-image Social comment?
    lock icon

    To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

    Standards Board Policy (0/250자)

    What’s Popular Now