Torture by Police Suspected in Death of South Korean Student

Associated Press

A 21-year-old student who died after being questioned by police about purported anti-government activities apparently had undergone water torture, a senior prosecutor was quoted as saying Sunday.

Park Jong Chul, a linguistics student at Seoul National University, was pronounced dead at a city hospital Wednesday. The initial police report said that he fainted and went into shock after questioning began. Police denied torturing Park.

The opposition New Korea Democratic Party accused police of torturing the student and said the incident was "only the tip of an iceberg."

'Brutal Acts'

The newspaper Chosun Ilbo on Sunday quoted Seoul district chief prosecutor Chung Ku Yong as saying Park is believed to have died after "brutal acts of police officers, apparently involving torture with water." He did not say how water was used.

Chung was quoted as saying the preliminary findings were based on statements from a doctor who was called in to examine Park and from other doctors who subsequently performed the autopsy.

The Korea Times quoted the first doctor, Oh In Sang, as saying that "breathing had almost stopped upon my arrival at the police interrogation room. The abdominal area of his body was swollen. It was filled with water."

Another press report quoted the doctor as saying he tried to resuscitate the student and that the floor of the room was wet with water.

Bruises Found

An investigative team said that when a police investigator tried to resuscitate Park, the student's upper body was unclothed and the pants Park was wearing were not his own and were stained with feces.

The Korea Herald quoted another prosecutor as saying the autopsy showed bruises on the body and a blood clot in the lung.

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