“The purpose of Village Leader Kim Ji Tae’s Imprisonment is simply to isolate him.”
218 Civic and Religious Leaders make a Statement Demanding the Immediate Release of Village Leader Ji Tae Kim and Renegotiation of the Agreement to move the US Base to Pyongtaek.
December 8 2006
Reporter Got-bam Lee email@example.com
“Village Leader Ji Tae Kim’s action to stop the destruction of the residents’ community is not a crime!”
Daechuri Village Leader Ji Tae Kim is currently confined at An-yang Prison, where he has been since he was sentenced to two years imprisonment on November 3rd. The collective voice calling for his release is growing, however. Religious leaders, scholars and representatives from civil and social justice organizations have come together to demand his immediate release. A second judgment in relation to his sentence will be made on December 22nd.
This year 830 people were arrested in relation to the struggle to stop the US base expansion in Pyongtaek. Of these, police requested warrants for 85 people, and 31 of which have been issued so far. 6 people, including Village Leader Ji Tae Kim, have been imprisoned.
On December 8th, the Korean Committee against US Base Expansion in Pyongtaek (KCPT) held a press conference calling for Village Leader Kim’s immediate release and renegotiation of the agreement to transfer the US base to Pyongtaek.
Their statement made a powerful claim for Mr. Kim’s release: “The Korean Government and Ministry of National Defense have sought to rob the residents of the land that is their home and equal to life for them and destroy the community they have built and protected from generation to generation. Village Leader Kim Ji Tae has committed no crime other than protesting this complete disregard for the residents’ lives and sentiments. Ji Tae Kim, the residents’ representative, is innocent of any crime and must be released immediately.”
Sang-ryul Han, Joint Representative of KCPT, forcefully criticize the Noh administration saying, “Noh Moohyun is really an idiot. Social polarization is getting worse and worse, the people of Korea are being driven off a cliff by the KorUS FTA and they are suffering because of the senseless troop dispatch to Iraq and the agreement to expand the US military base in Pyongtaek. This administration is really cruel and illogical.”
“The imprisonment of Ji Tae Kim is nothing other than an act to isolate him and keep him separated from the residents and is clearly unjust,” said Parliament representative Jong-In Im (Uri Party). “It is impossible not to doubt the courts’ independence from the government. Ji Tae Kim should be released immediately,” he added.
“The senseless transfer and expansion of the US military base should be renegotiated completely.”
According to participants at the press conference, “While the U.S. claims its plan for strategic flexibility will provide a deterrent against war created by North Korea, it is in fact a plan for the free stationing of US troops all over the world to facilitate US aggression. This is an extreme threat to peace on the Korean peninsula.” They called for renegotiations with the US saying, “Now is the time for the US and South Korea to completely renegotiate the character of the base transfer, the proportion of the expense covered by each country, the size of bases in Korean and the agreement to expand the base in Pyongtaek.”
During the press conference, participants wrote postcards to be sent to the courts, President Noh and Ji Tae Kim. KCPT announced its plans to conduct a letter writing campaign to collect messages calling for Mr. Kim’s release to be sent to the presiding judges and the Blue House.
In addition, KCPT will hold an end of the year cultural festival in Daechuri on December 17 and a ceremony honoring the residents in Gwanghwamun on December 25.