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5 police officers get jail for torture of torture

A Seoul court Thursday sentenced five police officers to one to three years in jail and suspended them from duty for torturing criminal suspects during interrogation.

The officers, all belonging to the criminal investigation team at Yangcheon Police Station in western Seoul, had been arrested and indicted in July on charges of beating and torturing six suspects, mostly charged with theft and narcotics possession, between last August and March this year.

In a petition to the state human rights watchdog, the criminal suspects claimed that they were forced to confess their crimes with their arms handcuffed behind their backs and twisted by detectives while being questioned at the police station.

The Seoul Southern District Court acknowledged the defendants’ acts of violence and handed down a three-year prison term to the 40-year-old team leader, identified only his surname Seong, and one-year terms to three officers, while suspending a lower-level detective’s eight-month term. All were suspended from duty for two to five years.

“Torture is inhumane and uncivilized conduct that should be expelled from a civilized society,” the court said in a ruling.

“For police officers who take charge of arresting people, habitually and systematically torturing suspects who deny their charges is a serious crime, and therefore, the court handed down heavy punishments.”

But the sentence was in consideration of the defendants’ motivation to root out serious crimes and excessive zeal for good performance, the court said. (Yonhap News)
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