Late Bishop Daniel Tji Hak-soun (Yonhap)
Late Bishop Daniel Tji Hak-soun (1921-1993) has been acquitted of protesting against the Yushin Constitution, instituted by an authoritarian president, in a retrial 46 years after his death.
Earlier in the week, the Seoul Central District Court found the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wonju, some 140 kilometers southeast Seoul, innocent of violating the emergency rules of the authoritarian Constitution enacted by strongman Park Chung-hee that enabled Park to remain in power indefinitely.
The court said Bishop Tji should be acquitted because the emergency rules executed under the Yushin Constitution violated basic human rights.
Separately, the court upheld his conviction on charges of obstructing justice by pushing a public servant as he was trying to leave his home while under house arrest. But it reduced the punishment to one year and six months in prison with a stay of execution for two years, "given that his action did not pose a great threat to the well being and order of the nation, the degree of the assault was limited and the action came amid the democratization movement," the court said.
In August 1974, Bishop Tji was sentenced to 15 years to prison for publicly denouncing the Yushin Constitution. He was released the next year with the help of religious readers who demanded his release in massive protests. He died in 1993.
From 2010, the country's courts started to make rulings deeming the emergency rules unconstitutional. In 2018, the prosecution applied for a retrial for the bishop. (Yonhap)