Calls to revisit 1987 case of welfare center abuseA committee on criminal justice reform recommended on Thursday that the country’s top prosecutor invoke his right to file an emergency appeal against a 1987 verdict in which the operator of a welfare facility accused of deadly abuses against inmates, mostly vagrants, was found not guilty.
The facility, the Brothers Welfare Center, opened in Busan in 1975 under President Park Chung-hee with the goal of rehabilitating vagrants. However, the facility was dogged by accusations of human rights abuse, including the detention, forced labor and sexual abuse of inmates. A total of 513 people died at the facility, and some bodies were buried secretly.
However, the Supreme Court in 1987 found the facility’s operator not guilty. In April this year, a committee on criminal justice reform recommended reopening the case. The Supreme Public Prosecutors’ Office has since formed a fact-finding team to dig into the case.