We strongly condemn the ROK government’s deportation measure on Benjamain Monnet and Angie Zelter.
Benjamain Monnet, a peace activist, who had been protesting the construction of a naval base in Gangjeong village on Jeju Island, was deported at 7:30 pm on 15 March 2012, through Incheon International Airport. Angie Zelter was also asked to leave the country on 22 March 2012. Such action clearly demonstrates the government’s unwillingness to listen to the opposing voice against the construction of the naval base, and the incapability of the government to ensure the stay of international peace-seeking activists.
The Immigration Office issued the compulsory eviction order within just a few minutes after the investigation on Monnet was done. Accordingly, we carried out every possible due process of law, filing the revocation litigation against the compulsory eviction order, and requesting the suspension of execution. However, the Immigration Office ignored such efforts and executed the eviction order within less than 24 hours. It is clear that the government had already decided to deport Monnet hence the investigation was just spin.
The Immigration Office did not notify the lawyer, even though they were fully aware of the fact that Monnet planned to hire a lawyer and file the revocation litigation against the compulsory eviction order. Monnet did not even get a chance to make a phone call when he was deported. Furthermore, when the lawyer requested the Immigration Office to give them a copy of the compulsory eviction order and the protection order, the office did not make a prompt action, making a bunch of excuses before issuing them almost an hour later. While the deportation measure was preceded with quite a swift action, the effort to ensure legal procedure to fight against illegality and unjustness was proceeded slowly enough to seem deliberate.
In the course of his transfer from Jeju to Hwasung, Monnet asked to change clothes, but the Immigration Office rejected it saying, “You can change in the car.” The very basic request for human dignity was ignored.
The deportation order made on Angie Zelter shares the same issue. She was ordered to leave the country by March 22, 2012. If she does not leave the country voluntarily by the due date, the compulsory eviction order will be put into practice. The government is not capable of handling the Nobel Peace prize nominee’s activity.
It is fairly anomalous that the execution of the deportation order was done within less than 24 hours after the order was issued.
We, Minbyun-Lawyers for a Democratic Society, are seriously concerned about the administrative measures of the ROK government against both of the international peace activists, Benjamain Monnet and Angie Zelter, who are against the destruction of Gureombi. The ROK government is internationally disgracing itself by violating one’s human rights. We thus will initiate international legal proceedings by reporting this to the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and requesting an appropriate intervention. In addition, we will strongly condemn the government’s unlawful measure in solidarity with Human Rights organizations abroad.
March 16, 2012
Minbyun-Lawyers for a Democratic Society
Chairman Sun-soo, Kim