UNI condemns three year sentence for Bro Han as ‘unjust and reprehensible’
UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings reacting to the decision of the Seoul High Court to sentence President Han of the KCTU to three years in jail said, “Brother Han’s sentence has been cut from five to three years but his conviction remains wholly unjust and reprehensible. He and other union leaders are being punished for carrying out their democratic right to protest. We have seen millions of Koreans taking part in similar demonstrations against the corruption of President Park and her cronies.
“The move to impeach her is an opportunity for Korea to re-establish itself as a transparent and democratic country. It will be now up to the Korean justice system to decide if the decision by MPs to impeach her was valid. If the charges are proved against her its President Park who should be in prison not Brother Han. Her government has been completely undermined by the corruption scandal which has engulfed her.”
In giving its ruling against Brother Han, the Court accepted that the police had used “excessive” force in the rally that Bro Han took part in November last year. The rally ended with the death of farmer activist Baek Nam-ki who was hit by a water cannon and remained in a coma before dying in September. The Court argued that Brother Han had planned a violent protest, despite lack of evidence while the evidence against the excessive force used by the police was incontrovertible.
Jennings, who visited Brother Han in detention earlier this year said, “We call for Brother Han to be freed immediately and we will continue to make our voice heard along with the other global unions and the wider international labour movement. UNI stands in solidarity with Brother Han and our brothers and sisters at the KCTU. Brother Han will never give up and neither will we.”
Millions of protesters returned to the streets of Seoul on Saturday, marking Friday’s suspension of Park’s presidential powers with candlelit vigils, music, and chanting while fireworks lit up the skies.