Korean trade union leader and human rights defender Kim Jungwoo risks receiving a further prison sentence at an appeal hearing on 4 April. In jail since June 2013 for protesting in support of dismissed workers and their families, fears are mounting that he will be given a heavier sentence by Seoul High Court as part of a continued crackdown on trade unionists.
Kim Jungwoo is a former leader of the Ssangyong Motor branch of the Korean Metal Workers’ Union, an IndustriALL Global Union affiliate. He was arrested in June last year after protesting for the reinstatement of the workers dismissed by Ssangyoung Motor in June 2009, and in memory of the 24 workers and family members who either killed themselves or died of stress-related disorders during the campaign. He will have completed the sentence in April, but could be given a heavier sentence at the High Court after an appeal by the prosecution.
Jyrki Raina, general secretary of IndustriALL Global Union, says the situation is unacceptable:
IndustriALL strongly condemns the increasing restrictions that South Korean trade unions are facing. Kim Jungwoo was arrested while defending the rights of the dismissed workers at Ssangyong and must be released immediately.
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