Police and Prosecutors Must Stop Violating Freedom of Assembly and Demonstration
- 2009.09.25 (18:23:00)
- 첨부 1
Today(Sep. 24), the Constitutional Court ruled that Article 10 of 'Assembly and Demonstration Law' forbidding the outdoor assembly at nighttime is 'not consistent' with the Constitution. It confirms that the ban on nighttime assemblies excessively restricts the freedom of assembly and demonstration. The People's solidarity for Participatory Democracy(PSPD) regards this rule of the Constitutional Court rational as reflecting social changes.
Among 9 Constitutional Court Judges, five regard it unconstitutional because it violates the Constitution, and two though of it 'not consistent with the Constitution' as it is necessary to temporarily keep the law valid although it violates the principle of the prohibition of excessive restriction of fundamental rights.
It is not fully satisfactory since the rule of the Constitutional Court is not "unconstitutional", but "not consistent with the Constitution". Nevertheless, the rule is a rational judgement which affirms the spirit of the Constitution that does not recognize "licensing of assembly and association" and "the principle of the prohibition of excessive restriction of fundamental rights".
Unless revising the Assembly and Demonstration Law, the article banning nighttime assembly become automatically invalid as of July 2010. The police, the prosecutors and the court are better not to apply such unconstitutional law until the revision is made.
The police should not attempt to ban and control an assembly at nighttime, which goes against the purport of the rule of the Constitutional Court. The prosecutors should withdraw its law suits against ordinary citizens of violating the law banning a nighttime assembly. Otherwise, the court should deter the trials and then make a judge of an acquittal after the revision of the law.
The Lee Myung-bak government should grant an amnesty to people who had been already found guilty violating the law banning a nighttime assembly as soon as possible. The National Assembly(Korean parliament) should respect the rule of the Constitutional Court and revise the Assembly and Demonstration Law within this regular session, since there are already pending bills of eliminating the ban on a nighttime assembly.
Besides, 'General Traffic Obstruction Law' is also on the table of the Constitutional Court for judging its unconstitutionality, which has often been referred by the police and the prosecutors for arresting citizens who participated in an assembly. PSPD asks the Constitutional Court rule it unconstitutional as respecting the spirit of the Constitution. PSPD also urges the Lee Myung-bak government to change its unconstitutional, anti-democratic behaviours and stop neglecting the Constitution which guarantees the protection of freedom and human rights.