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(LEAD) Navy files injunction against documentary on Cheonan sinking

All Headlines 15:09 August 07, 2013

(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; UPDATES with filing injunction in 4th para, lawyer's remarks in 6-7 paras; CHANGES photo)
By Kim Eun-jung

SEOUL, Aug. 7 (Yonhap) -- A group of Navy officers and families of fallen soldiers on Wednesday filed an injunction with a local court against a controversial documentary that casts doubts on a multinational team's conclusion that North Korea was responsible for the sinking of the Cheonan warship.

"Project Cheonan Ship," which is directed by independent filmmaker Baek Seung-woo and produced by Chung Ji-young, challenges the South Korean government's claim that the North is responsible for torpedoing a navy vessel with 104 crewmen on board while it was patrolling the tensely guarded western sea border on March 26, 2010.

Pyongyang has denied any involvement in the incident that killed 46 sailors.

Ahead of the documentary's nationwide release scheduled for early September, three Navy officers and two representatives of a bereaved families association filed an injunction with the Uijeongbu District Court, north of Seoul, to prevent the film's release.

The three officers served as the vice chief of naval operations, the Cheonan ship's captain and the navy rescue team leader at the time of the incident.

The plaintiffs' lawyer said the documentary is biased because it ignores a multinational investigation team's result that states Pyongyang is responsible for the incident, instead focusing on the stories of those who raise suspicions.

"There is freedom of expression, but no freedom of distortion," Kim Yang-hong told reporters. "If the movie is released, it could defame the reputations of the 46 fallen soldiers and their bereaved families."

The movie drew media attention when it was first shown in April at the Jeonju International Film Festival. Following the screening, the defense ministry criticized it for creating confusion about the tragic incident that took the lives of the young soldiers.

A multinational team, involving the U.S., England, Canada, Australia, Sweden and Russia, concluded that the ship sank after it was hit by a North Korean submarine's torpedo.

Chung Ji-young is known for his politically charged films, including "Unbowed (2012)," which questions the credibility of the South Korean justice system, and "National Security (2012)," which portrays a national police inspector's brutal torture of a former leading democracy leader Kim Geun-tae.


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