Doctors find bruises in activist’s face

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Doctors find bruises in activist’s face

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Traces of bruising, which may be evidence of torture, were found in the facial tissue of South Korean activist Kim Young-hwan yesterday after he underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan at a private hospital in Jeonju, North Jeolla.

The medical checkup he underwent was part of efforts to prove his claims about the torture he received at the hands of Chinese security officials including electric shock and sleep deprivation while he was detained in China from March 29 to July 20.

“By conducting an MRI, we’re able to classify normal nerve tissue and scar tissue,” said Shim Yong-shik, director at the hospital. “As for Kim, some tissue around his eyes was scar tissue.”

The director, however, recommended Kim visit a larger university hospital to receive a more thorough checkup using modern devices to find out if the bruising can be confirmed to be torture. Kim is expected to go through an in-depth medical examination next week after consulting with the South Korean government to reassess his physical and mental conditions. Kim, along with three other South Korean human rights advocates, was arrested in Liaoning Province in China in March on charges of endangering the country’s national security.

They are known to have helped North Korean defectors in China. After Kim arrived in Seoul, he said he had been tortured by Chinese security agents for not answering their questions, and has since been calling for international attention of human rights abuse in China.

Yesterday, a group of activists supporting Kim’s allegations, held a press conference near the Chinese Embassy in Jongno, central Seoul, and urged the Chinese government to apologize over the matter and to pledge not to commit such violations in the future.

China has so far denied the allegations, saying that its security officials have handled Kim under the law.

“We will give China one week to apologize,” said Choi Hong-jae, spokesman for the group. “If it doesn’t give a formal apology, then we will seek international support.”

The activists said that they will request the U.S. Congress and the European Parliament to hold a hearing to reveal the truth about the alleged torture. “We will submit a petition to the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on torture and request the UN judge the torture case,” Choi said.


By Lee Eun-joo [angie@joongang.co.kr]

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