The prosecution and the National Intelligence Service have been under public fire after officials rigged evidence to indict a former Seoul City public servant.
The Justice Ministry, however, took lenient disciplinary actions against the prosecutors, who submitted fabricated documents to judges during the trial of ex-Seoul City official Yu Wu-seong over espionage charges. The spy agency NIS handed over the materials to the prosecutors.
The three implicated prosecutors were working for the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office.
Two have been suspended of their duties for one month. The third will get a one-month salary reduction, according to the decision of the Justice Ministry.
As duty suspension can range between one and six months, one month for the two prosecutors is the mildest punishment.
Further, the ministry eased the sanction for the other senior prosecutor from three months of reduced wages ― proposed by the internal inspection board of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office ― to one month.
In contrast, the prosecution indicted five officials from the NIS over the same case. An assistant for the spy agency was also taken into custody on Saturday.
Though the ministry said the three prosecutors were found negligent in verifying the documents, critics including the Korean Bar Association and opposition parties alleged that the prosecutors were aware that the documents were faked by the NIS.
An opposition lawmaker said the prosecutors seemed to have urged the NIS to secure any evidence, regardless of the sources’ authenticity, to indict the former Seoul City official for illicit money transfers to North Korea.
A spokesman for the Peoples’ Solidarity for Participatory Democracy said the prosecutors were indulged by their organization.
The prosecution has continued to make false statements in court, as judges demanded more proof to back up the espionage charges against Yu, the Korean Bar Association said.
By Kim Yon-se (email@example.com