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Monday, March 28, 2005

Jo Jung-rae to avoid prosecution for Taebaek Sanmaek

Ohmynews tells that the prosecution is soon to make a decision not to press charges against the novelist Jo Jung-rae for breaking the national security law with his novel Taebaek Sanmaek. It's about bloody time I'd say; the issue has been hanging over Jo since 1994, when the adoptive son of the former president Syngman Rhee (or should I say Dr Syngman Rhee...) and eight organizations filed a complaint against Jo for libel and violation of the national security law. The prosecution has been dragging the case for more than ten years while millions have been buying and reading the 10-volume novel, and it's been included in the recommended reading list at also the Police Academy.
But what took so long to do the complaint back in 1990s, when the book had been out for years and years? Did it take so long to read it? Or was it the news of Im Kwon-taek making it to a film?

Jo Jung-rae shows leniency and understanding towards those who filed the complaint now that he's being relieved from the issue which must have been strenuous (but at least he's been able to write and publish a lot) (a Yonhap article via Hankyoreh); "Korean War and Vietnam War veterans (who were among the complainants) have personal scars and experiences, so I don't expect them to have objective views, and I've wanted to understand them."

Update.
So the source in the prosecutor tells (from Hankyoreh) that they have decided not to press charges against Jo Jung-rae, but the official announcement will be given after the parliamentary hearings of the chief prosecutor appointee, as the issue would become a point of debate in the hearings. Would it really? Would the GOP have the nerve to take it up? This is the history of the legal wrangling around Taebaek Sanmaek, from the above Hankyoreh link:
소설 <태백산맥> 국가보안법 위반 고발사건 일지

△1990년/ 도서출판 ‘한길사’, 조정래 대하소설 <태백산맥> 첫 출간. 95년 도서출판 ‘해냄’으로 옮겨 출판.
△1991년/ 검찰, 민중봉기를 미화하는 등 이적성 있다고 판단해 의식화 교재로 사용하면 국가보안법으로 형사처벌 방침 표명.
△1993년/ 임권택 감독, 안성기·김명곤·김갑수 등 출연한 영화 <태백산맥> 상영. 대종상 우수작품상, 청룡상 작품상 수상, 베를린영화제 본선 진출.
△1994년 4월/ 이승만 전 대통령의 양자 이아무개씨와 ‘구국민족연맹’ 등 8개 단체, 저자 조정래씨와 ‘한길사’ 대표 김언호씨 국가보안법 위반 및 명예훼손 혐의로 경찰에 고소·고발.
△1994년 6월/ 경찰청 보안4과, 저자 조씨 소환해 14시간 동안 조사. 이후 7차례 출석요구서 보내고 구인 시도했으나 조씨가 끝내 출석 거부.
△1994년 9월/ 경찰청 보안4과, 저자 조씨와 출판사 대표 김씨 검찰에 불구속 송치.
△1996년 8월/ 서울지검 공안1부, 최상관 검사에게 새로 배당.
△1997년 3월/ <태백산맥>, 최인훈의 <광장>과 조세희의 <난장이가 쏘아올린 작은 공>에 이어 한국 문학사상 3번째로 100쇄 인쇄 돌파.
△1997년 12월/ <태백산맥> 출간 7년만에 500만부 돌파. 하루 평균 1500부 판매.
△1999년 4월/ 서울지검 공안1부(부장 홍경식), 주임검사 바꿔 재수사 착수.
△1999년 9월/ 서울지검 공안1부(부장 정병욱·주임검사 조상수), 저자 조씨 소환조사.
△2001년 12월/서울지검 공안1부(부장 천성관), 이적성 판단 위해 소속검사 전원이 <태백산맥> 전 10권 숙독한 뒤 전체회의 가졌으나 결론 못내림.
△2004년 11월/ 서울중앙지검, 국가보안법 개폐 논의와 관련해 <태백산맥> 연내처리 방침 표명.
△2005년 3월/ 서울중앙지검, 만 11년만에 무혐의 결정 방침 표명.

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