The Supreme Court confirmed the original verdict on Pastor Jin Yong-sik and two of his members, who were prosecuted without detention for abetting illegal confinement and for forcing those who believe in a certain religion to convert, and dismissed their appeal.
On the 23rd, the Supreme Court Department 3 (Justice Yang Chang-su) declared that the court dismissed the appeal of Pastor Jin Yong-sik (Vice-Chairman of CCK Heresy Countermeasure Committee, and the Pastor of Ansan S. Church), who was prosecuted without detention on charges of violation of the Punishment of Violences, etc. Act (Night, Joint Coercion, Confinement), as he confined some members of a particular religious body in his church, and forced them to convert by means of extreme ways such as violence, intimidation, and coercion. The court confirmed the original verdict of sentencing him to ten months in prison with two-year probation.
Pastor Jin and two more members of his church have been suspected of confining the victims in a mental hospital, assaulting and intimidating them by plotting with the victims’ husbands and families under the purpose of converting their religion in 2000 and 2001 while running their “Heresy Clinic.” In particular, it turned out that they actively participated in putting the victims in a mental hospital by force and confining them, taking advantage of the weak point of Article 24 of the Mental Health Act; they confined the victims in the Chook-Ryoung Evangelical Hospital and administered medicine by force and treated them unfairly—no communication, no visitors, and not allowing them to take walks; Ms. Jeong was confined for 71 days, Ms. Oh for 82 days, and Ms. Jin then a university student for 65 days in the above mental hospital.
The victims have been making efforts to recover the human rights of the mental hospital abuse victims who are put in the blind spot of human rights, by launching the Human Rights Alliance for Mental Hospital Abuse Victims in 2006, and called upon amendment and supplementation of the Mental Health Act that has a weak point.
Victim Ms. Jeong shed tears, saying in an interview, “For the past eight years, I’ve fought to clear myself of a false charge that I was a mental patient although sound in mind.”
She added, “The legal battle was settled, but there are still many people who are suffering from forced conversion and forced admission to a mental hospital, and so a full-scale activity to protect them has to begin now. We’re going to actively work for freedom of religion and protection of human rights guaranteed by the constitution, regardless of nationality.”
Reporter Song Ho-seob