A Seoul lower court on Monday ruled that the state must provide partial compensation for victims who were tortured and forced to make false confessions under Korea’s 1980s military dictatorship.
Seoul Central District Court handed down the ruling that the government should give 3.3 billion won ($2.66 million) to four victims and their families from the manipulated probe that has been dubbed the “Hakrim” case.
In 1981, the Chun Doo-hwan military government illegally detained and tortured dozens of people who were members of a pro-democracy movement as part of its move to oppress antigovernment protests.
After being forced to make false confessions that they were pro-communist, the protesters were sentenced to at least two years in jail in the following year.
The victims were cleared of the charges in a retrial in 2012. Eight victims and their families sought compensation of 23 billion won against the government.
“The investigators dragged out false confessions through illicit arrest and torture. It’s an illegal act to put them in jail with a wrongful trial based on fabricated evidence,” the verdict said.
“They must have suffered severe mental and physical anguish as their human rights were infringed on by the government which was supposed to protect the people’s fundamental rights.”
The court, however, did not accept the compensation requests of four other victims, ruling that they had already received subsidies in 2006 from a public body in charge of recovering the honor of such victims.
It also did not acknowledge the need for compensation for those who had become affiliated with the victims after their jail term, such as spouses and children. On the other hand, compensation for parents and siblings was acknowledged.
By Lee Hyun-jeong (email@example.com)