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Man seeks compensation for spending 20 yrs in prison on wrongful murder conviction

In this file photo, Yoon Seong-yeo, 53, leaves the Suwon District Court in Suwon, south of Seoul, on Dec. 17, 2020, after he was acquitted of a 1988 murder. (Yonhap)
In this file photo, Yoon Seong-yeo, 53, leaves the Suwon District Court in Suwon, south of Seoul, on Dec. 17, 2020, after he was acquitted of a 1988 murder. (Yonhap)
A man has asked a court to compensate him for serving a prison term after he was wrongfully convicted of raping and killing a girl more than two decades ago, judicial sources said Thursday.

According to the sources, Yoon Seong-yeo filed the claim on Monday with the Suwon District Court, south of Seoul, seeking more than 2.5 billion won ($2.25 million) in compensation for spending 20 years in prison on the wrongful murder conviction of a 13-year-old girl in 1989.

The 54-year-old was arrested on July 25, 1989, on charges of committing the eighth murder of the 10 serial killings that had occurred between 1986 and 1991 in Hwaseong, about 60 kilometers south of Seoul.

The case was initially concluded as a copycat crime of the other murders in Hwaseong, which had remained as a cold case until recently.

Yoon said he was forced to confess to a crime he did not commit. At 22, he was sentenced to a lifetime in prison by a district court. The appeals court and the Supreme Court upheld the lower court ruling, putting him behind bars for 20 years until he was released on parole in 2009.

Last month, the Suwon District Court overturned the original conviction of Yoon and acquitted him in a retrial of the 1988 murder case linked to one of the nation's most notorious serial killings.

The acquittal came as police revealed in 2019 that Lee Chun-jae, a 58-year-old man jailed for another murder, confessed to all 10 murders in Hwaseong, including the eighth case.

Yoon spent a total of 7,326 days in prison from the day of his arrest to Aug. 14, 2009, the day of his release.

Under the Criminal Compensation Act, Yoon could claim financial reparations of fivefold the minimum daily wage per day he spent in prison.

Based on last year's minimum wage, he could receive 343,600 won in compensation at the maximum for each day he spent in prison. This translates into compensation of around 2.5 billion won for his entire imprisonment.

Yoon is said to file a separate complaint against the government to get financial reparations for the unlawful arrest, severe assault by the investigators and the mental distress he and his family members had to suffer. (Yonhap)
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