Going against humanity

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Going against humanity

Shocking photos of two North Korean defectors fiercely refusing to be repatriated have been released. Ten photos submitted to the National Assembly by the Ministry of Unification on Tuesday vividly show their vehement resistance to the repatriation through Panmunjom on November 7, 2019 shortly after they were caught in the East Sea by the South Korean Navy.

In the pictures taken by the unification ministry, the two defectors’ hands were tied with a rope from the moment of their arrival at Panmunjom. Some photos contain vivid images of the defectors strongly resisting South Korean authorities’ attempt to return them to North Korea. They pleaded with security guards to stay in South Korea. They were blindfolded and even gagged by the authorities on their way to Panmunjom. At the sight of North Korean soldiers waiting for them there after their blindfolds were taken off, they fell on the ground helplessly.

The two fishermen were captured by South Korean military on November 2, 2019 after heading south on a boat. The Moon Jae-in administration finished a joint interrogation of them after three days and asked Pyongyang if Seoul could send them back. The administration mobilized eight members of a special police force to return them.

Forcible repatriation of North Koreans constitutes a clear violation of our Constitution, which still defines North Koreans as South Korean nationals. And yet, Kim Yeon-chul, the unification minister at that time, appeared to the National Assembly and said they desperately wanted to go back to North Korea. His remarks are drastically different from what really happened.

Even if the South Korean government decided to return them as they committed murders in the North, it does not have the authority to force them out. Moreover, the unification ministry confirmed the existence of documents specifying their intention to defect. North Korean defectors retain the right to get a trial in South Korean courts — and file a complaint if they are not satisfied with the results of trials. But they were deprived of these rights.

If North Korean defectors return home, they no doubt face severe punishment or ever death. Nevertheless, the Moon administration nonchalantly sent them back. The National Intelligence Service even ended a joint interrogation quickly. Even if our military intelligence authorities were aware of the defectors’ alleged homicides in the North, they should have found the truth first. But they didn’t do anything. Worse, the National Security Office in the Blue House made a final decision to send them back without any legal jurisdiction.

Illegalities of the forced repatriation are abundant. All must be strictly investigated. The Yoon Suk-yeol administration must get to the bottom of inhumane behaviors by the Moon administration.
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