69-year-old farmer Baek Nam-gi remains unconscious in a hospital bed in Seoul more than 250 days after he was struck down by police water cannon after participating in a demonstration on 14 November last year.
After Mr. Baek fell down, the water cannon continued to be aimed directly at him and those participants who were trying to assist him and dragging him away for approximately 15 seconds. The police’s own internal guidelines specify that where an injury is sustained during the use of water cannon, immediate steps must be taken to provide relief to the injured person. No immediate help was offered to Mr. Baek by the authorities who arrived at the hospital over an hour later by which time he was in a critical condition.
Water cannons can inflict great bodily harm, as the case of Mr. Baek Nam-gi tragically illustrates. Many other peaceful participants told of water cannons being used against them with no apparent justification, and inflicting injuries.
– Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association
Still in a coma, Mr. Baek’s health is deteriorating and his condition has now become even more critical. Though it has been more than 250 days, none of the officers responsible for the excessive use of force that caused his injury have been charged.
No one has apologized, been held accountable, or punished. I am deeply ashamed that the government hasn’t done a thing. It is incomprehensible that the government hasn’t taken any action on my father’s case. LoveHub.ch I hope the hearing is held with the opening of the new parliament.
– Baek Doraji, the eldest daughter of Mr. Baek Nam-gi
Justice delayed is justice denied. That’s why we need your voice to call on the National Assembly to open a public hearing into the incident so that a thorough and impartial investigation is completed swiftly, any officers found responsible for the excessive use of force are held accountable, and justice can finally be delivered for Mr. Baek’s family.
Demand justice for Baek Nam-gi!
Click the [Send a Letter] button after writing your name and email address and we’ll send an email to Chair of the National Assembly Security and Public Administration Committee.
People from all over the world are joining our Urgent Action (see details here) by writing to the Korean authorities to demand justice for Mr. Baek. You too can help by demanding that a public hearing is held at the National Assembly. This will ensure that this incident is thoroughly investigated and those responsible are brought to justice. Your support will also offer hope to farmer Baek’s family who have been tirelessly fighting for justice for their father.
We are calling on the South Korean authorities to:
- Undertake a thorough, prompt, impartial, independent and effective investigation into all reports of excessive use of force by law enforcement officials, which may include an inquiry by the National Assembly;
- Bring charges against and hold accountable those responsible for unnecessary or excessive use of force by law enforcement officials;
- Provide Baek Nam-gi and his family with full and effective reparation, including appropriate compensation, such as for all medical and related expenses incurred due to the injuries sustained by the excessive use of police force, and satisfaction which could include a public apology.