South Korea releases labour rights defender Lee Young-joo

The former KCTU Secretary General Ms. Lee Young-joo was released on June 14, 2018 after being sentenced to a three-year suspended prison term and a fine in what FIDH Asia Desk Director Andrea Giorgetta, who observed the trial, qualified as a “classic case of face-saving for the court.”

FIDH has been particularly mobilised on her case, and that of former KCTU President Han Sang-gyun, through its Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, issuing a number of urgent appeals for their release. Their case was further raised by FIDH during the EU Domestic Advisory Group (DAG) on Korea in its capacity of member and vice-chair. FIDH has consistently raised their cases at each given occasion, namely at the latest Civil Society Forum. Moreover, to ensure that the European Commission takes on its responsibilities correctly, specifically raising their cases and actively engaging with the South Korean authorities, a joint letter was addressed to trade commissioner Malmstrom to this effect. We are pleased to note the release of both Han Sang-gyun and Lee Young-joo within this context.

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