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Executed man’s clan to get $2 million

Sept 02,2017
A local court ruled Friday that the government must pay 2.3 billion won ($2.05 million) to the surviving relatives of an academic wrongfully executed by the Park Chung Hee administration on trumped-up espionage charges.

The Seoul Central Court ruled Friday that the government must pay more than 993 million won to the daughter of Park No-soo and another 832 million won to his wife. Park’s siblings were awarded 521 million won.

Park, an international law professor at the University of Cambridge, was a victim in the “European spy scandal” of 1969. The Park regime’s intelligence agency fabricated a series of espionage scandals to divert public resistance to his dictatorship, and Park’s case was one of them. Another infamous scandal was the “East Berlin incident” of 1967, in which 194 Korean students and residents in Europe, including renowned composer Yun Isang, were accused of espionage.

Born in 1933, Park studied law at the University of Tokyo in 1955 and continued his studies at the University of Cambridge. After working as an international law professor at the university, he received a job offer from Harvard University and returned to Korea in February 1969 to prepare for the relocation.

Two months after his return, Park was arrested by the Korea Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA), the processor of the National Intelligence Service, on suspicions that he violated the National Security Law. The law was enacted in 1948 to fight communism.

The agency claimed that Park received orders and money from North Korea and visited East Berlin and Pyongyang. It also claimed that he joined the Workers’ Party of the North and committed espionage.

He was convicted in November 1969 and sentenced to death. The Supreme Court confirmed the sentence in 1970 and Park was executed on July 28, 1972. Kim Kyu-nam, was also arrested by the intelligence agency around the same time. He was executed 15 days before Park was killed.

In 2006, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission conducted an investigation into the European spy scandal. The fact-finding mission concluded that Park was forced to make a confession. The head of the KCIA at the time, Kim Hyung-wook, pointed a gun at Park and forced him to confess, the report said.

Kim Pan-soo, another victim of the incident, remembered enduring severe beatings, water torture and electric shocks. Based on the commission’s conclusion in 2009, Park’s family applied for a retrial. The Supreme Court posthumously acquitted Park in 2013, clearing him of the espionage charges 43 years after his execution.

Park’s family filed a civil suit seeking 7 billion won in compensation.

“The amount of compensation announced today is small, considering their sufferings. I will talk to them and appeal,” said Jo Eui-jeong, its lawyer.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]