Army to reinvestigate soldier’s claims of abuse

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Army to reinvestigate soldier’s claims of abuse



Defense Minister Han Min-koo said yesterday that the military will reinvestigate a case involving a young Army private who awoke from a vegetative state after 19 months and has since waged allegations that he was beaten into a coma by his superiors.

“Based on the possibility that he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage due to beatings and, separately, the possibility that he was beaten with a piece of lumber, we will reveal [the truth] through a reinvestigation,” Han said at a meeting held by members of a military culture reform committee at the National Assembly.

However, he added there had been no issues with the original investigation, “based on records of the results of the military police investigation, military medics and the doctor from the hospital in Chuncheon [who treated the soldier].”

The minister’s remarks follow a controversial disclosure by the parents of Gu Sang-hoon, the young Army private who awoke from a coma in September 2013.

The two recently told the JoongAng Ilbo that after regaining his ability to communicate in September, their son explained to them in detail the situation leading up to the incident, including the names and ranks of the senior soldiers who he alleged physically abused him and the method they used to beat him. The Army has denied those accusations.

The military police report at that time claimed that the hemorrhage Gu suffered was the result of a congenital disorder. It also claimed that a wound discovered later on the back of Gu’s head was a bed sore, and not an injury related to the alleged assault.

The soldier’s family maintains that the military is attempting to cover up the case.


BY SARAH KIM [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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