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Police push for sedition charge against KCTU leader

<span>Han Sang-gyun, center, head of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), walks toward a patrol car to be transferred to the prosecution from Namdaemun Police Station, Seoul, Friday. The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency sent the opinion to prosecutors that he should be indicted for sedition for allegedly organizing an illegal rally on Nov. 14. / Yonhap</span><br /><br />
Han Sang-gyun, center, head of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), walks toward a patrol car to be transferred to the prosecution from Namdaemun Police Station, Seoul, Friday. The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency sent the opinion to prosecutors that he should be indicted for sedition for allegedly organizing an illegal rally on Nov. 14. / Yonhap

By Jhoo Dong-chan


The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency has sent Han Sang-gyun, head of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) to the prosecutors with the opinion that he should be indicted for sedition.

If prosecutors indict him on such a charge, it will be the first time in 29 years after a suspect was charged with sedition in 1986 for violently clashing with police during democratic rallies against the Chun Doo-hwan government.

By law, police can launch preliminary investigations on their own but the prosecution must supervise them. Also, only prosecutors have the right to charge suspects.

Including sedition, Han faces a total of nine other charges such as organizing unapproved rallies, disobeying orders to disperse, obstructing traffic, interfering with official duties and damaging public property.

If convicted of sedition, violators can face up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to 15 million won ($12,695).

Han surrendered to the police on Dec. 10 after his nearly month-long refuge in Jogye Temple, central Seoul.

"The police reviewed a lot of evidence, including citizens' reports, thoroughly and objectively and decided to seek sedition charges against Han for illegally organizing the violent anti-government rally on Nov. 14," a police officer said.

"We have confirmed that the violent activities that erupted during the rally were not accidental but rather a deliberate outcome masterminded by the KCTU leaders."

The police are expected to request arrest warrants for other KCTU leaders who helped organize and participate in the Nov. 14 rally.

The KCTU immediately condemned the police's decision to charge Han with sedition.

"The police are trying to make as many charges as possible against Han so they can destroy him," KCTU spokesman, Park Seong-sik, said.

"The government's malicious attempt to demonize the KCTU, which has fought for the rights of the nation's 20 million workers, will not succeed. Their attempts will face a stern judgment by history."

Meanwhile, the KCTU has prepared for a third anti-government rally where they will march from Gwanghwamun Plaza to Daehangno, central Seoul, today.

The KCTU leaders ordered its union members to bring noise makers such as percussion instruments and kkwaenggwari, a Korean traditional instrument, to make disturbances in protest of the police charges against Han.

The police said they will swiftly respond if the rally turns violent.



Korean Language

한상균 위원장 검찰 송치…29년 만에 소요죄 적용

불법·폭력 시위를 수사 중인 서울지방경찰청 수사본부는 18일 한상균 민주노총 위원장에게 소요죄를 추가로 적용해 사건을 검찰에 넘겼다.

수사기관이 피의자에게 소요죄를 적용한 것은 1986년 '5·3 인천사태' 이후 29년여만이다.

한 위원장은 지난달 14일 1차 '민중총궐기' 집회 등 올해 민노총 주최로 서울 도심에서 열린 대규모 집회에서 불법·폭력 시위를 주도하고 선동한 혐의를 받고 있다. 

경찰이 소요죄를 추가로 적용함에 따라 한 위원장이 받는 혐의는 금지통고 집회 주최·금지장소 위반·해산명령 불응·주최자 준수사항 위반·일반교통방해·특수공무집행방해·특수공무집행방해치상·특수공용물건손상 등 8개에서 9개로 늘었다.

형법 115조에 규정된 소요죄는 '다중이 집합해 폭행, 협박 또는 손괴 행위'를 한 자에게 적용되며, 1년 이상 10년 이하의 징역·금고 또는 1천500만원 이하의 벌금에 처해진다.

경찰은 소요죄 적용 배경에 대해 자유청년연합 등 보수진영 시민단체 등으로부터 한 위원장을 소요죄로 처벌해달라는 고발 8건이 들어온 데다 수사 과정에서 확인된 객관적 범죄 사실, 구체적으로 확보된 증거자료 등이 바탕이 됐다고 밝혔다.

경찰은 그동안 민주노총 본부와 산하 11개 단체 17곳에 대해 압수수색을 벌여 확보한 자료를 분석하고, 891명에 달하는 불법·폭력 시위 행위자와 주동자를 수사해왔다.

수사 결과를 종합하니 지난달 14일 서울 도심의 불법·폭력 시위는 일부 시위대의 우발적인 행동 때문이 아니라 민노총 핵심 집행부와 관련 단체 간부들의 치밀한 사전 기획에 의해 준비된 것으로 확인됐다는 게 경찰의 설명이다.

경찰은 특히 집회 당일 오후 1시30분부터 이튿날 0시15분까지 6만8천여명의 시위대가 도로를 점거해 교통을 마비시키는 한편 경찰관을 폭행하고 경찰 버스를 부수는 등 격렬·과격 시위를 벌여 공무집행을 방해하고 광화문, 종로, 남대문 등 서울 도심의 평온을 심각하게 해쳐 소요죄 적용 요건이 충분하다고 판단했다고 강조했다.

경찰은 한 위원장의 구속영장을 신청할 때는 소요죄 혐의를 넣지 않았지만, 영장 발부 이후 그에 대해 소요죄를 적용할 수 있을지 법리를 검토해왔다.

경찰은 불법·폭력 시위를 기획하거나 집회 현장에서 적극적으로 선동에 나선 민노총 핵심 집행부와 관련 단체 간부도 개입 정도 등을 따져 소요죄를 적용하는 방안을 적극적으로 검토할 방침이다.

대표적인 인물이 이영주 사무총장과 배태선 조직쟁의실장이다. 경찰은 이들도 폭력시위 기획·집행을 주도한 것으로 보고 있으며, 이들이 3차례 소환통보에 응하지 않자 체포영장을 발부받아 검거에 나섰다.

경찰은 이들을 포함해 민노총 핵심 집행부와 산별노조 대표 등 27명도 소요죄 적용을 검토할 방침이다.

이와 함께 경찰은 이날 현재 올해 벌어진 불법·폭력 시위자와 한 위원장 도피 조력자 등 918명을 수사하고 있다. 경찰은 이 가운데 47%가 민노총 관련 단체 소속인 것으로 확인됐다고 밝혔다.

구체적으로는 구속 11명, 구속영장 신청 9명, 체포영장 발부 5명, 불구속입건 284명, 훈방(고교생) 1명, 출석요구 608명 등이다.

한편 민노총은 이날 한 위원장에 소요죄를 추가 적용한 것과 관련해 성명을 내고 '최대한 많은 죄목을 뒤집어씌워 파멸시키려는 잔혹한 기도일 뿐 아니라, 민노총 전체를 집단적 불법·폭력 집단으로 매도해 합법적 존재기반을 박탈하려는 의도'라고 비판했다. (연합뉴스)



<span>Han Sang-gyun, center, head of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), walks toward a patrol car to be transferred to the prosecution from Namdaemun Police Station, Seoul, Friday. The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency sent the opinion to prosecutors that he should be indicted for sedition for allegedly organizing an illegal rally on Nov. 14. / Yonhap</span><br /><br />
Han Sang-gyun, center, head of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), walks toward a patrol car to be transferred to the prosecution from Namdaemun Police Station, Seoul, Friday. The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency sent the opinion to prosecutors that he should be indicted for sedition for allegedly organizing an illegal rally on Nov. 14. / Yonhap

By Jhoo Dong-chan


The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency has sent Han Sang-gyun, head of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) to the prosecutors with the opinion that he should be indicted for sedition.

If prosecutors indict him on such a charge, it will be the first time in 29 years after a suspect was charged with sedition in 1986 for violently clashing with police during democratic rallies against the Chun Doo-hwan government.

By law, police can launch preliminary investigations on their own but the prosecution must supervise them. Also, only prosecutors have the right to charge suspects.

Including sedition, Han faces a total of nine other charges such as organizing unapproved rallies, disobeying orders to disperse, obstructing traffic, interfering with official duties and damaging public property.

If convicted of sedition, violators can face up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to 15 million won ($12,695).

Han surrendered to the police on Dec. 10 after his nearly month-long refuge in Jogye Temple, central Seoul.

"The police reviewed a lot of evidence, including citizens' reports, thoroughly and objectively and decided to seek sedition charges against Han for illegally organizing the violent anti-government rally on Nov. 14," a police officer said.

"We have confirmed that the violent activities that erupted during the rally were not accidental but rather a deliberate outcome masterminded by the KCTU leaders."

The police are expected to request arrest warrants for other KCTU leaders who helped organize and participate in the Nov. 14 rally.

The KCTU immediately condemned the police's decision to charge Han with sedition.

"The police are trying to make as many charges as possible against Han so they can destroy him," KCTU spokesman, Park Seong-sik, said.

"The government's malicious attempt to demonize the KCTU, which has fought for the rights of the nation's 20 million workers, will not succeed. Their attempts will face a stern judgment by history."

Meanwhile, the KCTU has prepared for a third anti-government rally where they will march from Gwanghwamun Plaza to Daehangno, central Seoul, today.

The KCTU leaders ordered its union members to bring noise makers such as percussion instruments and kkwaenggwari, a Korean traditional instrument, to make disturbances in protest of the police charges against Han.

The police said they will swiftly respond if the rally turns violent.

Jhoo Dong-chan jhoo@koreatimes.co.kr


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