SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Korea Bizwire) – The Supreme Court of Korea has ordered the government to provide compensation to dozens of people who experienced humiliation using toilets in extremely poor condition at a detention center.
It’s the first time the Supreme Court has reached a verdict in favor of plaintiffs over a case involving a poorly constructed toilet facility, ordering the government to offer financial compensation of 100,000 won to each of some 40 people who were subject to what amounts to ‘psychological damage’ including embarrassment and humiliation after being detained by police and forced to use a toilet with no wall.
An investigation revealed that the toilet in the midst of controversy had no wall but a hinged door, which meant that people outside the toilet could see the humiliating image of detainees relieving themselves. In addition, CCTV cameras were found to have been set up around the controversial toilet, recording footage of the area.
The Supreme Court’s ruling comes after around 40 people, including a man identified only as Song, filed a suit for being subjugated to humiliation and shame after having to use the toilet at a detention center when they were arrested for participating in illegal rallies surrounding the Hanjin Heavy Industries crisis in 2011.
During the first and second trials, the court said budget issues don’t exempt the government from liability. However, it was also mentioned that the plaintiffs used the toilet more than once, which was used by the court as grounds to reduce the amount of compensation from 500,000 won, which was originally demanded, to 100,000.
When it came to the psychological damage caused by CCTV recording through cameras placed around the toilet, the court rejected the plaintiffs’ request for compensation, saying the security cameras were “a justified use of governmental power necessary to control detainees at the detention center.”
The latest shocking revelation of the poor treatment of detainees in the justice system in South Korea follows an OECD report from August that South Korean prisons are overcrowded at an alarming level, making South Korea the country with the most overcrowded prisons among OECD member nations.
Since then, the government has been urged to increase funding for its corrections institutions.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)