Monday, March 12, 2007

Torture during dictationship in Korea

he could not shake off the nightmarish memories of the interrogation room of South Korea’s once-infamous Army Security Command, where, he said, he was held for 43 days and tortured in 1983.

“They tied me naked in a steel chair and attached an electric cord to my genitals,” he said in his last interview. “When they threw the switch, electricity bolted through my spine and jolted my brain. It was as if my body jumped a meter off the floor.”

By the time the military interrogators were done with him, he had signed a confession that said he was a Communist spy. He served 15 years, and during that time his wife, who had also been tortured, divorced him, and he never saw his children again. He was released in 1998 and became a monk two years later.

Former political prisoners are coming forward with accounts of witch hunts and torture that can sound unreal to young South Koreans today. Large-scale antigovernment demonstrations, tear gas and firebombs have long since receded from the streets. North Korea stirs more sympathy for its economic plight than it does fear.

Interrogators deprived him of sleep for days, then made him sit in front of high-intensity lights, he said. They tied him to a rod like “a pig being roasted,” put a wet towel over his nose and eyes, and poured water laced with mustard or pepper into his mouth.

Kim Byung-jin, 51, who was an interpreter for interrogators at the Army Security Command, called such methods of torture common.

“They could make the victim say whatever they wanted him to say,” he said. “Truth was irrelevant.”

Mr. Kim did not just see the torture. A Korean resident of Japan, he was studying at Yonsei University in Seoul in 1983 when he was brought in as a Communist suspect and tortured before being put on the military’s payroll for two years.

“I still hear them saying to me, ‘You ready? Here we go!’ as they cranked up the generator to send electricity to the wire tied around my fingers,” Mr. Kim said in an interview last month. He said he admitted to “nonsensical charges” after they threatened to send his wife to a brothel and his infant son to an orphanage.March 11, 2007The New York Times

I am sure South Korean people demand endless apologies and compensation from the government, and build museum to commemorate it just as they do to Japan, or do they not?

No comments: