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Trial on 2019 Forced Repatriation of N. Korean Fishermen to be Open to Public

Written: 2024-06-10 17:20:46Updated: 2024-06-10 17:28:39

Trial on 2019 Forced Repatriation of N. Korean Fishermen to be Open to Public

Photo : YONHAP News

A trial regarding the government's forced repatriation in 2019 of two North Korean fishermen suspected of murder, which was until now held behind closed doors due to national security concerns, will be open to the public.

The Seoul Central District Court, which has been hearing the case for the past seven months, announced its decision on Monday.

Though Monday’s hearing was open to the public, the court said decisions for future hearings will have to be made on a case-by-case basis.

Since the first public hearing in the trial on November 1, 2023, the court has conducted eleven hearings to examine witnesses, most of them employees of the National Intelligence Service(NIS), behind closed doors.

While the prosecution, former National Security Advisor Chung Eui-yong and former NIS Director Suh Hoon all raised concerns regarding the handling of classified information during the trial, the court reportedly decided to open Monday's hearing as it does not involve security-related documents.

Chung, Suh, former presidential chief of staff Noh Young-min and former unification minister Kim Yeon-chul from the previous Moon Jae-in administration are accused of violating the law when deciding to repatriate the North Koreans in November 2019, despite their expressed wish to defect.

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