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Police acted 'worse than regime'
Rights group also slams naval base arrests as 'serious failure of governance'Sister Yoon (center) speaking at the press conference
- January 17, 2012
Some 35 sisters and priests from the Association of Major Superiors of Religious Women in Korea and the Catholic Solidarity to Realize Peace in Jeju held a press conferenceÂ to protest against the arrest of 29 people including 19 Religious on January 10.
They had been praying in front of a naval base construction site on the resort island and urging a halt to the project. All were released within two days.
Notre Dame Sister Marie Aquina Yoon Jung-ok, president of the association, said even â€śthe past military regime did not forcibly take Religious sisters who were praying to a police station,â€ť stressing â€śwe canâ€™t just ignore the forcible arrest.â€ť
Sister Yoon said the police should apologise immediately to the Korean Catholic Church and the nation for â€śdetaining people who were singing and dancing peacefully for two days.â€ť
Father John Go Byeong-soo, vice-chairman of Jeju dioceseâ€™s Special Committee for the Island of Peace, called the police action â€śthe indiscriminate suppression of religion by state power.â€ť
The Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) issued a statement yesterday criticizing the incident, saying itÂ showed that â€śthe government can arrest anyone if the authorities feel the actions relate to the construction of the naval base.â€ť
The AHRC called the naval base case in Jeju a â€śgood example of worst governance,â€ť saying the arrest of peaceful demonstrators only shows â€śthe serious failure of governance and the misleading of the rule of law.â€ť
The navy and the Jeju provincial government announced Gangjeong village in Jeju would be the site of a new naval base in June 2007.
It is expected to be completed in 2014 and become the base for a new fleet of destroyers that will patrol the East China Sea between China and Japan.
Church threatens revolt over base
Police arrest priest in Jeju protest