© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: South Korea’s Nationwide Intelligence Service chief Suh Hoon talks to reporters after assembly with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Japan March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
By Hyonhee Shin
SEOUL (Reuters) – A former South Korean nationwide safety advisor was arrested on Saturday over his suspected manipulation of a 2020 case the place a fisheries official was killed at sea by North Korean troops.
The homicide case has sparked controversy because the household of the official, Lee Dae-jun, refuted claims by the administration of former President Moon Jae-in that he sought to defect to the North on account of playing money owed, psychological well being points and an sad life.
The incumbent President Yoon Suk-yeol’s authorities has reversed that interpretation, saying there was no proof of a defection try. Prosecutors additionally launched an investigation into Lee’s loss of life and a 2019 case during which two North Korean fishermen have been deported to the remoted nation towards their will.
Moon’s then nationwide safety advisor, Suh Hoon, faces allegations that he had ordered intelligence stories to be deleted to hide Lee’s killing and manipulated proof to help the defection declare.
The Seoul Central District Court docket, following a 19-hour deliberation, granted an arrest warrant for Suh on Saturday, citing “the gravity of the difficulty, the standing of the suspect, and the danger of proof destruction.”
Suh, who additionally served as a spy chief, declined to reply reporters’ questions when he appeared for the deliberation, however has denied the allegations and accused the Yoon authorities of political retaliation.
“It’s unimaginable to govern a case that stakes a citizen’s life and honour,” Suh advised a information convention in October, saying he made selections primarily based on analyses of intelligence and circumstantial proof.
Yoon’s ruling Individuals Energy occasion mentioned Moon and his aides “not solely let Lee die however killed his honour by claiming his defection whereas treading on eggshells round (North Korean chief) Kim Jong Un’s regime.”
“Now just one individual stays past the road of fact – former President Moon,” Individuals Energy mentioned in a press release.
Yoon’s workplace didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark however has mentioned prosecutors function independently and it was not concerned of their investigations.
Suh’s arrest prompted debate amongst lawmakers over whether or not prosecutors would develop the investigation to hunt prison expenses towards Moon, who prioritised inter-Korean reconciliation till his time period resulted in Could.
Moon has denounced the investigation as “going too far” and issued a press release this week accusing the Yoon administration of creating groundless claims and politicising safety points.
Lee’s brother, Lee Rae-jin, issued a press release refuting Moon’s remark, saying his authorities didn’t rescue Lee and is now bent on “wordplay”. He criticised Moon for demanding proof to point out why his brother didn’t defect, with out presenting any proof to again his personal declare.