Respect the law firstEmbattled Unified Progressive Party Representative Lee Seok-ki vowed last week to “faithfully comply with the judicial process to prove my innocence once it begins.” Contrary to what was pledged, however, Lee and the far-left party act as if they are willing to defy the authority of the law enforcement agencies.
Despite passage of a motion to arrest him on charges of plotting a rebellion against the state by an overwhelming margin in the legislature on Wednesday and the National Intelligence Service’s legitimate execution of a court-issued arrest warrant, the UPP vehemently tried to block NIS agents from arresting him. About 30 members of the party violently responded to the execution of a legal process. They hurled insults, punched and kicked agents, and even injured them. Such behavior is a brazen defiance of state authorities.
The splinter party also had refused the NIS’s search and seizure raid on Lee’s office at the National Assembly for almost two days last month. Lee Jung-hee, chairwoman of the UPP, even sat in front of Lee’s office for a while to protest the NIS’ “fabrication of the facts.” Lee’s aides reportedly went so far as to destroy evidence. These behaviors translate to obstruction of justice. We wonder if they really think such violations are trivial compared to the rebellion charge Lee faces.
We urged law enforcement authorities to reveal the whole truth behind Lee and the UPP’s alleged attempt to overthrow the government by upholding the procedural justice - instead of following in the footsteps of high-handed investigators. We also demanded that the UPP explain what it did as transparently as possible as an officially registered political party. Is the UPP party doing so?
The UPP is at a crossroads. The ruling Saenuri Party, main opposition Democratic Party and Justice Party are all skeptical of the splinter party’s identity - not only because of all the suspicions over Lee and his Revolutionary Organization, but also because of all the deviations from common sense. They cast strong doubt on whether the party really meets the minimum requirement that mandates political parties not betray the basic order of our democracy. The UPP’s plea for survival doesn’t make any sense as it ultimately is responsible for its actions. The party must first prove that it is a public party that respects the law.