Appeal for Mr. Lee Si-woo, Korean journalist fighting for Freedom of Speech
August 26, 2008
Early August we held two DU-related gatherings in Hiroshima; one on August 5th as a program in the Gensuikin (Japan Congress Against A- and H-Bombs) World Conference and another on August 6th, the 5th NO DU Exchange Gathering. Both gatherings were held at the Hiroshima Citizens’ Plaza where some sessions were held at the ICBUW Hiroshima Conference in August 4-5, 2006.
This year’s NO DU Exchange Gathering was held under the title of “Let’s Follow the Ban on Cluster Munitions!: ICBUW Campaign after the UN Resolution,” and attended by about 70 people coming from around Japan.
This year’s special guest was Mr. Lee Si-woo, Korean photo-journalist who reported, at the ICBUW Hiroshima Conference in August 2006, about the enormous numbers of DU munitions stored at the US bases in Korea and Okinawa, Japan. In April last year Mr. Lee was arrested under the charge of impingement on the “National Security Law.” While he was in custody, Mr. Lee carried out a very long hunger-strike in protest, and lots of people and groups including Amnesty International issued urgent appeals requesting his immediate release.
In September he was released on bail, and was acquitted of the charge last January, but one month later the national prosecutors appealed the ruling. Thus, Mr. Lee is still fighting at court; the worst verdict for the charge could be death sentence.
From his side, Mr. Lee has sued his government because he forfeited his irreplaceable photo negatives.
We decided to invite Mr. Lee to this year’s Exchange Gathering in order to show once again our strong sense of solidarity with, and respect for, him.
After a renewed statement of our support for him was adopted, three girl students at Nanzan University in Nagoya City gave a powerpoint presentation about the DU damage in Iraq; it turned out a very, very excellent and moving presentation and received big applauds.
Next, ICBUW steering members gave reports about ICBUW’s recent activities and made some action proposals for this autumn, internationally and domestically. Lastly, some groups gave brief reports about their recent activities, and Mr. Shoji Sawada, physicist, introduced a US Vietnam War veteran and a Vietnamese person, who were visiting Japan appealing about their damage from Agent Orange.
Kazashi Nobuo Director, NO DU Hiroshima Project