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Gov’t rejects claims of Park’s abuse

Oct 19,2017
The Ministry of Justice opposed arguments by former President Park Geun-hye’s lawyers on Wednesday that she is experiencing “serious human rights violations” at the detention center.

Park’s international legal team has made the claim that the 65-year-old former leader is living in a “cell that’s dirty, cold and constantly lit so she cannot sleep,” CNN reported Tuesday.

The report was based on a document exclusively supplied by MH Group, a global legal consultant.

The lawyers said in the document that Park is suffering from a handful of chronic conditions and maladies, including chronic lower back pain, osteoarthritis in her knee and shoulder joints, a rare disorder of the adrenal glands and malnutrition.

They also said she has been sleeping on the floor.

The Korea Correctional Service of the Ministry of Justice issued a statement saying, “She is held in a cell of an appropriate size, equipped with a floor heating system, TV, shelf, toilet and other facilities.”

Park is being held in a solitary cell at the Seoul Detention Center. Such rooms are typically 67.6 square feet. She is currently alone in a room normally used to hold six to seven inmates.

Park’s room is about 109 square feet. The ministry said cells are dimly lit in order to monitor inmates’ movements at night. Park has been given a folding mattress for her back pain and is allowed to use medical supplementary goods.

She is also receiving medical treatment by prison doctors whenever necessary and visits to outside hospitals twice a week, the ministry said, adding that nutritious meals and enough outdoor physical exercise opportunities are also given to her.

Korea’s first democratically elected leader to be removed from office, Park is currently standing trial for bribery.

Shortly after her removal form office, the prosecution obtained a detention warrant and took her into custody in March.

The detention warrant expired on Monday, when the Seoul Central District Court issued an additional warrant, granting the prosecution’s request to extend her detention for up to six months.

After the court’s decision to extend her detention, Park finally broke her silence on Monday and challenged the integrity of the court, claiming she is a victim of “political retaliation.”

It was the first time Park addressed the court since her trial began in May.

All seven lawyers who have defended her also resigned Monday to protest the extended detention, stirring emotional reactions by her supporters.

According to CNN, the document will be submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council (Ohchr) on Wednesday, citing that the council will have a routine review of Korea’s human rights record in less than a month.

But the report pointed out that the UN council has no legal authority over the Korean government.

The president of MH Group, which supplied the document, is a doctor and human rights advocate named Mishana Hosseinioun.

Hosseinioun is also an associate member of the department of politics and international relations at St. Anthony’s College at Oxford University.

MH Group also represents Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, a son of the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who was overthrown and killed in 2011.

The younger Gaddafi was sentenced to death by a Tripoli court in a case conducted in absentia, a decision that was subsequently widely criticized.

Gaddafi was reported to have been freed after the sentence was squashed.

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