S.Korean civic group accuses Army man of covering up suicide of bullied conscript - Seoul News
by IANS | Updated Feb 13, 2023
The 21-year-old private, identified by his surname Kim, was found shot dead at an Army unit in Inje near the border with North Korea in late November, and an investigation showed later that he took his own life after being bullied by eight people who verbally abused and threatened him, Yonhap reported.
The Center for Military Human Rights Korea claimed one of the bullies, a staff sergeant, initially reported the death as an accident caused by malfunctioning of the gun to authorities to cover up his wrongdoing.
"The staff sergeant's false report caused confusion in the relevant investigation by the unit, but the military police did not even book him for probe," an official of the civic group said in a press conference.
The centre plans to file a complaint against the staff sergeant on charges of making a false report to the military, the official said.
The centre also claimed, based on records by fire authorities, an ambulance was dispatched after Kim was found but was made to wait for 13 minutes in front of the unit.
"According to information by an anonymous person, there was a debate inside the unit about 'who called for a private ambulance,'" the official also said, accusing the military of attempting to secretly deal with the death.
Issuing a press release, the Army denied both of the centre's claims.
"No circumstances of a false report were discovered in a relevant investigation ... nor did the unit intentionally block (the entrance) of the ambulance," the Army said.
The Army also said the eight bullies have been referred to the civil police for investigation on charges of coercing and insulting the victim, while 12 others will be referred to the military prosecution or punished on charges that include lax supervision.
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