KCTU President sentenced to three years imprisonment


The Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) has denounced the three year sentence the Seoul High Court has handed to Han, Sang-gyun, the President of the Korean Confereration of Trade Unions (KCTU). The charges are connected to Han’s role in organising 2015 protests demanding justice for the victims of the Sewol Ferry disaster and the 14 November 2015 mobilisation against neoliberal labour reforms. 

“This sentence is a clear breach of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, violating South Korea’s international human rights obligations and setting a dangerous legal precedent”, said BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson. “The BWI demands the immediate release of all jailed trade unionists and an end to attacks on workers’ rights and their livelihoods.” 

“Last Friday the South Korean National Assembly voted to impeach President Park Geun-Hye for her role in a corruption scandal, and yet she is still walking free. For his actions defending the rights of South Korean workers, however, President Han has been given three years. This is a great injustice that needs to be set right.” 

On 30 November over 250,000 KCTU members, including thousands of members of the BWI-affiliated Korean Federation of Construction Industry Trade Unions (KFCITU), took part in a general strike. This came just days after the largest protest in South Korea’s history, which saw 2.3 million people (from a total population of 50 million) across the country mobilizing to demand President Park step down.