Prosecution likely to appeal 1987 verdict in 'Brothers Welfare Center' case

By Yonhap
  • Published : Sept 13, 2018 - 11:17
  • Updated : Sept 13, 2018 - 11:17

The prosecution reform committee recommended Thursday that Prosecutor General Moon Moo-il invoke his right to file an emergency appeal against the 1987 not-guilty verdict for the operator of a welfare facility accused of deadly abuses of inmates, mostly vagrants and hobos.

The Brothers Welfare Center was established in the southeastern port city of Busan in 1975 during the administration of former strongman President Park Chung-hee with the goal of rehabilitating vagrants and hobos. 

But the facility was accused of a number of human rights abuses against inmates, such as illegal detentions, forced labor, beating and sexual violence. Until its closure in 1987, a total of 513 inmates died, with some bodies buried secretly.

Prosecutor General Moon Moo-il (Yonhap)

In 1987, prosecutors indicted the facility's operator on illegal confinement and other charges, but the Supreme Court ruled him not guilty, saying the facility was operated to house vagrants according to a government directive.

In April this year, a committee looking into suspicious incidents involving the prosecution recommended a reinvestigation into the case. The Supreme Public Prosecutors' Office has since formed a fact-finding team and been looking into the incident.

On Thursday, the prosecution reform committee also recommended that the prosecutor general file an emergency appeal with the Supreme Court against the 1987 verdict.

A committee official said that the 1987 not-guilty verdict was based on the 1975 government directive about cracking down on vagrants, but the directive is unlawful and therefore the verdict should be reconsidered.

Prosecutor General Moon is expected to file an appeal according to the recommendation, officials said.