An over-the-top investigation

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An over-the-top investigation

To draw out their desired testimony, prosecutors often dig out a suspect’s past offenses to threaten them. The tactic can undermine human rights. This off-track interrogation method has long been criticized for its inhumanness.

Prosecutors were denied an arrest warrant for Yun Jung-cheon, a former head of a construction company, who is alleged to have arranged sex parties and bribes for former Deputy Justice Minister Kim Hak-eui in return for favors. The judge said he cannot agree to the need for physical detention in light of the timing and reasons behind the arrest warrant request, as well as criminal offenses detailed by the prosecution. It is quite rare for the warrant judge to question “the time and reason” of an arrest.

The arrest warrant request was mostly filled with allegations on Yun unrelated to former Minister Kim’s case. Yoon’s lawyer raised suspicions that the prosecution wanted to force testimonies from Yoon by detaining him for reasons unrelated to the original charges.

Kim’s case would not have emerged again if the prosecution had done its job right five years ago. The statute of limitations has expired on most of the charges against Kim. It is undeniable that the prosecution, which is running out of time and evidence to build its case, attempted to force out some new information from Yoon.

There is a dark force behind Kim’s case. The prosecution is suspected of having tried to hide or minimize the investigations twice, in 2013 and in 2015. Finding a scapegoat to undo its past wrongs is equally damning. If the prosecution sincerely wants to right its past wrongs, it should have strictly kept the principles of justice this time.

In his inauguration speech in July 2017, Prosecutor General Moon Moo-il vowed to end excessive investigation methods by the top law enforcement agency. Using extreme means to get to the bottom of the case is like stealing a candlestick to read the Bible. The prosecution must use just means so that its findings won’t be questioned.

JoongAng Ilbo, April 22, Page 30
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