Today’s appeal court ruling reducing the prison sentence of trade union leader Han Sang-gyun cannot mask the authorities’ intolerance of the right to peaceful assembly in South Korea, Amnesty International said.
The judges reduced Han Sang-gyun’s jail sentence to three years for public order offences and violations of the problematic Assembly and Demonstration Act, during a series of demonstrations in 2014 and 2015. Han was also held responsible for sporadic clashes with police at a series of anti-government protests he helped organize.
“Han Sang-gyun should not be held criminally responsible for violent acts taken by a small number of individuals, simply because he was one of the organizers of protests that were largely peaceful,” said Roseann Rife, Amnesty International’s East Asia Research Director.
“His prosecution and upheld conviction underlines the authorities’ intolerance of the right to peaceful assembly.”
Han, who is president of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, was originally handed a five-year prison sentence at his initial trial in July.