South Korean President forces defectors back to North, to their probable deaths

Discussion in 'Asia' started by kazenatsu, Jul 25, 2022.

  1. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Past Donor

    May 15, 2017
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    Two fishermen in a boat from North Korea tried to make their way to South Korea and were intercepted by South Korean authorities.

    North Korea made the claim that the two had murdered 16 others who had been in the boat.
    But many believe there is no evidence for this claim and that North Korea does not actually believe this. Journalists who have researched this incident strongly suspect that North Korea wanted the two for other reasons. Either unknown reasons, or the government did not want to let the fisherman escape, because escaping North Korea is considered a very serious crime.

    However, the South Korean President Moon Jae-in made the decision to return the two fisherman to North Korea, in an attempt to appease the North and try to maintain better relations between the two countries. A video of the two men being returned to North Korean authorities shows that the two were very much resisting and seemed to be in great fear about being handed over. They may have feared being executed, possibly torture, or the extremely inhumane treatment in a North Korean prison camp.

    There are many in South Korea who are saying that the President's decision to return them against their will, knowing what would likely happen to them, amounted to "cruel treatment". The President is getting a lot of criticism from human rights groups.

    Greg Scarlatoui, director of the Committee of Human Rights in North Korea, said the South Koreans, by handing the fishermen over three days after capturing their boat in South Korean waters, had "issued a death sentence." And that this sends a message that South Korea "no longer provides a safe haven" for defectors.

    Daily NK, a website in South Korea with risky mobile phone contacts inside North Korea, has reported the two were beheaded two months after the handover.​

    Of course North Korean courts have no transparency. No information has been made available exactly what the evidence was against the two men, or where they are or what has happened to them.

    Under South Korean law, defectors (defectors from the North are considered "Korean citizens") are entitled to due process once they arrive in the South. These fishermen were not given due process.

    The cruel return of two fishermen shows why we must stand up to North Korea, The Hill, Donald Kirk, July 25, 2022

    Hypothetically, how would North Korea even know that the two men had murdered 16 others who were in their boat? Did those 16 others set out in that boat and then disappear? So since South Korean authorities only found 2 persons in the boat, the North Korean government assumes they must have killed the other 16 ?
    No information has been released about the South Korean authorities finding any evidence of traces of blood in the boat. Many believe that North Korea's claims are absurd and are extremely likely just to have been a pretext to try to get the fishermen handed over.

    Congressman Chris Smith (Republican, New Jersey) said he was "shocked and startled" after seeing photographs and video of the fishermen as they were "forced to return to communist North Korea against their will and without due process."
    "A thorough investigation is needed to determine who in the Korean bureaucracy had ordered their return and for what possible justification."​

    related story: North Korea allegedly killed and burned South Korean man
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2022

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