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Calls to revisit 1987 case of welfare center abuse

Sept 14,2018
A committee on criminal justice reform recommended on Thursday that the country’s top prosecutor invoke his right to file an emergency appeal against a 1987 verdict in which the operator of a welfare facility accused of deadly abuses against inmates, mostly vagrants, was found not guilty.

The facility, the Brothers Welfare Center, opened in Busan in 1975 under President Park Chung-hee with the goal of rehabilitating vagrants. However, the facility was dogged by accusations of human rights abuse, including the detention, forced labor and sexual abuse of inmates. A total of 513 people died at the facility, and some bodies were buried secretly.

However, the Supreme Court in 1987 found the facility’s operator not guilty. In April this year, a committee on criminal justice reform recommended reopening the case. The Supreme Public Prosecutors’ Office has since formed a fact-finding team to dig into the case.