Home > Torture > The revival of tyranny?

The revival of tyranny?

Hyoyeol Chong

On June 23, four police officers at Yangcheon Police Station in Seoul were arrested on charge of torturing criminal suspects such as thieves and drug dealers. 32 criminal suspects were interrogated and 22 of them were tortured or subject to physical abuse during interrogation between August 2009 and March of this year. The National Human Rights Commission disclosed that torture is still used during police investigations of criminal suspects, and there are an increasing number of petitions by people who claim they were under physical abuse and torture by the police.

Torture had been the order of the day at the police under dictatorial regimes in 1970s and 1980s in Korea, which made Korean people sensitive about torture and the cruelty of the police force. Torture remains in practice by the Police as officers have gagged suspects with toilet paper or cellophane tape, yanked up their arms behind their backs while they were handcuffed, and beat them to extract confession. Furthermore, Police officers have inflicted torture on victims intentionally and systematically with approval of senior police officers.

They chose to torture suspects as a way of interrogating suspects instead of employing scientific methods of investigation.. Furthermore, security system records at this police station from March 9 to April 2 were missing and CCTV cameras were found to be facing the ceiling while the torture of suspects had been ensuing.

The four police officers admitted to some of their accusations of torture. Regarding their actions, some people said this kind of case happens because of a Merit System, which increases payment based on results and high performance. However, to increase quality of criminal investigation, introduction of scientific method is more appropriate than torture. On torture, Chang-ik O, the chief of the Human Rights Organization, stated that, “It is true that all organizations require results. To give actual results, systematic investigation with scientific methods should be practiced. Torturing suspects to give actual results is unacceptable, much like cheating in tests to get a good grade.”

In addition, one of parties of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea said “It is a shame that torturing exists in 21th century. It is a violation of a basic principle of the Criminal Procedure Law, which states that it is unreasonable to make one innocent person a criminal even though missing ten criminal suspects.”

Korea has not yet ratified OPCAT (Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment), which establishes an international inspection system.

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Categories: Torture
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