Amnesty International has issued the â?œWorldwide Appeal
SOUTH KOREA: Journalist denied freedom of expression,â?? which is pasted below.
As you can see from the Appeal, Mr. Lee Si-woo has been reporting about the anti-land mines and the US bases in Korea. Mr. Lee Si-woo is also concerned about the DU (depleted uranium weapons). At the 3rd ICBUW (International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons) Conference held in Hiroshima last August, he gave a presentation about the DU shells stored at the US bases in Korea and Japan. The information itself had been obtained lawfully, that is, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, an American peace NGO in Hawaii, American Friends Service Committee, Hawaii Area Program Office. As his presentation was of great significance in many regards, news about his report was reported on the front page of The Mainichi Shimbun, one of the major, national newspapers in Japan.
As the Appeal by Amnesty International states, we consider his detention totally ungrounded and unjust. So, please send your appeals to the Korean Minister of Justice; the address information can be found at the end of the appeal by Amnesty International.
There is a letter writing guide by Amnesty International at:
You can send YOUR appeal also to the Seoul Central District Court.
If you send your appeal to the address below*, it would be conveyed to the Court duly.
And also the email petition campaign for the release of Mr. Lee Si-woo has been carried on; all what you need to write is: (1) your name (2) your address (3) your email address. Please send your email petition to the same email address indicated below*.
However, if possible, please send â?œappealsâ?? instead of â?œemail petitionsâ?? because â?œappealsâ?? can be much more effective thanâ?œpetitions.â?? The first deadline for these actions is set on Sept. 18, two days before the 10th public trial of his case.
(*) email@example.com (Mr. Takao Ogata, a member of Theâ?œStonewalk Korea 2007 â?œ)
Thank you very much for your attention.
: Takao Ogata (executive member of the â?œStonewalk Korea 2007â??)
: Nobuo Kazashi, Katsumi Furitsu, Haruko Moritaki (Steering Committee members of ICBUW=International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons)
Lee Si-woo at the ICBUW 2006, reporting on the storage of DU shells in US bases in both Korea and Okinawa, Japan.
SOUTH KOREA: Journalist denied freedom of expression
Lee Si-woo, a photojournalist and peace campaigner, was arrested on 23 April on charges under the vaguely worded South Korean National Security Law (NSL). The charges relate to information he reported as a freelance journalist. AI believes he is a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression.
Lee Si-woo published information on the US military presence in South Korea. His news reportage was based on information obtained legally through the government and the military, through Freedom of Information laws.
Lee Si-woo’s trial before the Seoul Central District Court began on 4 July.
Lee Si-woo is accused of “disclosing national/ military secrets” and propagating the ideology of “an enemy state” – in other words, of supporting North Korea. The authorities have specified that the military secrets they accuse Lee Si-woo of disclosing include reports on anti-personnel mines clearance and landmine casualties in South Korea, which Lee had examined in 2002 for the Korean Campaign to Ban Landmines. His investigation was reportedly given the go-ahead by the South Korean government and was funded by an organization supported by the government. No questions were raised about the legality of the reports at the time, and many of the sources he used to gather information are freely available on the internet.
He has published books and collections of his photographs, focusing on the anti-personnel mines which remain in the de-militarized zone separating South and North Korea (known as the Civilian Passage Restriction Line), and on the presence of the US-led UN Command in South Korea.
Following his detention, Lee Si-woo went on hunger-strike for more than 40 days, and is still said to be weak. He reportedly has difficulty standing and has to use a wheelchair. He appears to have received adequate access to medical care, and reportedly receives regular visits from his family, lawyer and local activists.
Please write, calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Lee Si-woo, and urging the government to abolish the National Security Law or fundamentally review it so as to bring the law into line with international standards.
Send appeals to:
Minister of Justice Jeong Song-jin
Ministry of Justice
Gwacheon Government Complex
Republic of Korea
Fax: +82 2 2110 3079
Salutation: Dear Minister Jeong