GWANGJU, June 8 (Yonhap) -- A regional court ordered the state Thursday to compensate late poet Kim Nam-ju and five others for the psychological damage they suffered during their fight in the 1970s against then President Park Chung-hee's constitutional revision to prolong his rule.
After seizing power in a military coup in 1961, Park declared martial law and introduced the Yushin Constitution in 1972 in an attempt to remain in power forever by switching the presidential vote to an indirect election system and repressing political opposition and dissent.
Kim, then a student at Chonnam National University in the southwestern city of Gwangju, and his schoolmates staged campaigns against the constitutional revision, including the publication and distribution of newspapers criticizing the authoritarian regime.
The following year, they were detained for investigation for up to 284 days, subjected to torture and given suspended prison sentences on charges of national security law violations.
Kim and others were later expelled from the university. Two of them were readmitted and acquired middle school teaching licenses and landed teaching positions, but their appointments were canceled after they failed to pass security clearance.
In a retrial of their case, the Gwangju High Court in 2021 acquitted them, acknowledging the government at that time illegally arrested, detained and forced confessions from them.
Six of them and their families have since filed a damages suit against the government.
On Thursday, the Gwangju District Court ordered the state to pay a total of 3.1 billion won (US$2.3 million) in compensation to 42 plaintiffs.
The amount, which represented less than half of what the plaintiffs demanded, was calculated in consideration of the earnings the victims could have made if there hadn't been government brutalities, as well as interest for the lost earnings and compensation.
"The victims appear to have sustained social and economic disadvantage after they were detained for a considerable period of time, expelled from the university and they and their families were stigmatized as spies," the court said.
(Asiad) S. Korea blank China to reach men's football semifinals
(LEAD) (Asiad) S. Korea takes 2 silvers in roller skating relays
S. Korea says N. Korea will never be recognized as nuclear-weapon state
N. Korea slams IAEA's adoption of resolution on Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program
(Asiad) No time to celebrate for S. Korean goal scorer after win over China in men's football quarters
(News Focus) Travis King's release an opportunity for rapprochement in U.S.-N. Korea ties?
DP averts crisis following court's rejection of Lee's arrest; focus shifts to unity
5 years after signing, future of inter-Korean military accord unclear
In desperation, N. Korea, Russia turn to one another for mutual assistance rivaling U.S.-S. Korea cooperation
Yoon seeks to carve out bigger role for S. Korea in Indo-Pacific, world