Some relatives approve of special probe concord
The association for relatives of the adult victims held a press conference yesterday at Incheon Metropolitan City Office, saying, “We accept the agreement reached by the ruling and opposition parties on the special Sewol bill … The Sewol law must be enacted by the end of this month.”
While expressing its approval, it cautioned against the Sewol tragedy being exploited for political gain in a reference to ongoing wrangling over the terms of the law.
On having a different view from that of the relatives of the teenage victims, Han Seong-sik, a vice director of the association, explained that the two associations had acted separately from the beginning. But he added that the two groups do not have any discord.
Han said that requesting for a committee to have investigation and indictment rights, such as the teens’ relatives have, is way too much.
“We think the agreement [reached last week] will lay bare the truth,” he said.
In a statement released before the press conference, the families said they do not want the Sewol issue to become the subject of political bickering and distract from the original goal of finding out the truth behind the sinking.
The association represents the families who lost 43 passengers aboard the doomed ferry. The relatives of the Danwon High School students, teachers and Sewol ferry crew members killed in the sinking are not represented by it.
The approval by the adult victims’ relatives yesterday came five days after the teens’ relatives rejected the bipartisan deal in a Wednesday vote.
Of the 176 family members who cast votes Wednesday, 132 said they were in favor of the original demand advocated by the relatives, which would empower a fact-finding committee with the authority to investigate and indict suspects, while just 30 families supported the bipartisan deal that was reached on Tuesday.
The approval by the minority association is expected to give a boost to the Saenuri Party’s position on the special law at a time when the opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy hinted at a walkout from a parliamentary session yesterday.
BY KANG JIN-KYU [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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