Evidence is key

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Evidence is key

Tension is running high between prosecutors and politicians from opposition parties. The opposition camp regards the prosecution as part of a ruling power, whereas the prosecution harbors discontent over the opposition’s habitual political offensives to thwart its exercise of prosecutorial rights. What counts most in this brawl is facts: If the prosecution obtains solid evidence about a lawmaker’s wrongdoing, it reinforces the prosecution’s credibility. If not, it leads to public distrust over prosecutors.

In the fight for truth, a noticeable case took place recently. Lee Hae-chan, head of the opposition Democratic United Party, insisted that the prosecution forced one of his friends to tell a lie during an interrogation about the savings bank corruption scandal. “They summoned my friend to the prosecution every morning for a week to make him confess that he had offered me 200 million won ($173,400) to help save troubled savings banks,” Lee said. If Lee’s friend didn’t give the money to him, the prosecution committed a serious crime of arbitrarily fabricating evidence.

After an investigation, the prosecution confirmed Lee’s friend as Park Hyeong-son, Chairman of Haedong Group, and said no such thing happened during the course of his interrogation. A lawyer for Park said he was not aware of such a story. But Lee has neither confirmed the name of his friend nor denied the news reports that the friend is Park.

The responsibility falls on Lee to clarify the facts. Recently, Park Jie-won, floor leader of the DUP, raised the suspicion that Park Geun-hye, former interim leader of the ruling Saenuri Party, met lobbyist Park Tae-gyu to help insolvent savings banks stay afloat. But floor leader Park has not revealed a recorded conversation between the two, which led to a lawsuit by Park Geun-hye.

When raising suspicions, opposition parties must present evidence. If not, it damages the dignity of their opponents and tarnishes the credibility of law enforcement agencies and politicians. DUP floor leader Park, who has been under prosecution investigation for his alleged taking bribes from savings banks, assigned himself to the Legislation and Judiciary Committee at the new Assembly in what amounts to a cowardly act.

If Park wants to use his status as a shield against future attacks, it constitutes an action in violation of the Assembly Law.

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