Park must comply with subpoena

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Park must comply with subpoena

Park Jie-won, floor leader of the main opposition Democratic United Party (DUP), has vowed not to comply with the prosecution’s second subpoena as he faces charges of accepting bribes totaling 100 million won ($87,500) from two executives of insolvent savings banks. But this persistent refusal to accept the prosecution’s call constitutes an outright dismissal of our judicial system by Park, who served as both chief presidential secretary and culture and sports minister under the former Kim Dae-jung administration.

Park and his party have suggested that prosecutors may be attempting to fabricate the case, citing the example of former Chairwoman Han Myung-sook, who was found not guilty despite being indicted twice on bribery charges. However, they seem to have forgotten that Han deigned to appear for questioning.

The prosecution seems to be within its rights in summoning Park as the order follows its probe. In light of the testimony provided by executives at savings banks, during which they claim they gave money to Park, prosecutors have no choice but to question him. If Park is innocent, as he insists, this would also be the easiest way to clear away any suspicions. And this is precisely what voters want to see from a political leader. The ongoing special session of the Assembly will end on Aug. 3. But the DUP must refrain from calling for another extraordinary session immediately afterwards in order to stop Park from being questioned. Rather than reigniting public outrage over the “bullet-proof” nature of the Assembly, lawmakers must let prosecutors execute a subpoena by guaranteeing a short recess before they convene a special session. If not, Park cannot be summoned without his peers’ consent.

An arrest motion for Chung Doo-un, a Saenuri Party lawmaker also embroiled in bribery cases, was vetoed by a majority of representatives in the Assembly. But he has promised to appear at the court when the prosecution files a request for his arrest warrant after the special session is over. Park should follow in his footsteps.

More lawmakers are likely to be summoned by the prosecution on charges of corruption involving saving banks and violations of the election law during the last legislative election. If a political heavyweight like the floor leader of a mammoth party vehemently resists being subpoenaed, it will shake the very foundation of our justice system.

저축은행 업자 2명으로부터 약 1억원을 수수한 혐의를 받고 있는 박지원 민주당 원내대표가 오늘로 예정된 2차 검찰소환에도 불응하겠다고 천명했다. 박 대표는 김대중 정권 때 대통령 비서실장과 문화체육부 장관을 지냈다. 지금은 집권 경험이 있는 제1 야당의 원내대표다. 법을 만드는 입법부의 주요 지도자인 것이다. 그런 인물이 검찰 소환에 계속 불응하는 것은 사회에 부정적 영향을 준다. 정치 권력만 있으면 국가 사법체계를 무시해도 된다는 것인가.
 박 대표와 민주당은 한명숙 전 총리도 두 차례 기소되었지만 무죄 판결을 받았다며 검찰이 사건을 조작하고 있다고 주장한다. 하지만 한 전 총리는 곽영욱 전 대한통운 사장 관련 사건에서 결국 체포영장을 통해 검찰에 출두했다. 두 차례 소환을 거부했지만 어쨌든 마지막엔 검찰 조사 절차를 거친 것이다. 검찰의 기소 여부나 법원의 판결은 일단 검찰 조사가 이뤄진 후에 정해지는 것이다. 그에게 돈을 주었다는 저축은행 업자의 진술이 나온 이상 검찰로서는 피의자 박지원을 부르지 않을 수 없다. 주장대로 무죄라면 박 대표는 검찰에 출두해 당당히 밝히면 된다. 그것이 법을 존중하는 지도자의 모습이다.
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