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Korea bans opposition party and arrests parliamentarian
#1
Republic of Korea: Imminent Threat To Political Expression and Civil Rights

By Global Research News
Global Research, December 18, 2014
Url of this article:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/republic-of-korea-imminent-threat-to-political-expression-and-civil-rights/5420702


Global Research, Montreal, December 18, 2014
PRESS RELEASE
A path breaking decision which will have far reaching impacts on civil and political rights in the Republic of Korea (ROK) is forthcoming.
A decision from the Constitutional Court in South Korea regarding the dissolution of the Unified Progressive Party (UPP) is imminent.
On November 5, 2013, the South Korean government requested that the Korean Constitutional Court initiate dissolution proceedings against the Unified Progressive Party (UPP), the third largest political party in Korea, following the arrest of one if its members, the parliamentarian Lee Seok-Ki.
[Image: Rep-Lee-Seokki-3-Feb-2014-300x203.jpg]Representative Lee (image right) was accused (allegedly on trumped up charges) and later convicted of violating South Korea's national security law and for planning a future incitement of violence. The incitement of violence charge was reversed by the ROK Court of Appeals. His case is now pending on appeal before South Korea's Supreme Court.
A vote in favor of dissolution of the UPP by the Constitutional Court would carry significant implications for political expression and civil rights in South Korea. As a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, South Korea is obligated under international law to protect freedom of assembly and expression. After a year of hearings into the matter, there is little or no evidence that the UPP is a "threat" to the South Korean constitutional or legal order, and there is a risk that dissolution would be little more than an attempt by the government to chill political speech with which it disagrees.
As part of its efforts to avoid dissolution, the UPP consulted with American lawyers and secured a legal opinion from the law office of Comar Law in San Francisco, which submitted legal opinions both to the Korean Constitutional Court as well as to the United Nations, asking that the judges side in favor of the rule of law and freedom of political expression.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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#2

South Korea court orders breakup of left-wing party

SEOUL Thu Dec 18, 2014 10:08pm EST





Lee Seok-Ki ©, lawmaker of opposition United Progressive Party, and other lawmakers of the party leave the main building of parliament in Seoul September 4, 2013.
Credit: Reuters/Lee Jae-Won














(Reuters) - South Korea's Constitutional Court ruled on Friday to disband a minority left-wing party accused of pro-North Korea activities that it said violated the basic principles of free democracy and stripped its five members of parliament of their seats.
Eight of the court's nine judges sided with the majority opinion for the unprecedented decision that "there was an urgent need to remove the threat posed by the party to the basic order of democracy," the chief judge Park Han-chul said.
The case against the United Progressive Party (UPP) brought by the government of President Park Geun-hye has been played out amid a bitter struggle between conservatives and liberals in a country sharply divided over ideology and North Korea.
The ruling to disband a political party required the votes of six of the nine judges.
UPP leader Lee Jung-hee said after the ruling that the court had "opened the gate to totalitarianism based on falsehood and imagination" and effectively turned South Korea into "a dictatorial country."
The party, which says it speaks for the working class and progressive members of society, has led a stormy existence since its founding in 2011, including the conviction of one member of parliament earlier this year on charges of treason.
Lee Seok-ki awaits the Supreme Court ruling on his appeal in a case stemming from his comments at a party meeting last year where he reportedly called for attacks against South Korea's utilities if a war between the rival Koreas breaks out.
Lee has pleaded innocent, saying his comments were taken out of context and misinterpreted.
Justice Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, who was the plaintiff in the Constitutional Court case, has argued that the UPP has sympathized and followed North Korea's strategy to revolutionize the South.
"What the so-called 'progressive democratic movement' is pursuing is the establishment of a pro-communist government and unification to realize North Korean-style socialism," Hwang told the court in the final argument last month.
Amnesty International expressed concern at what it said was the use of national security to repress political opposition.
"The ban on the UPP raises serious questions as to the authorities' commitment to freedom of expression and association," Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International, said in a statement.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/1...7R20141219
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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