South Korea: Rape victim commits suicide after ‘insults’ from judge
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South Korea: Rape victim commits suicide after ‘insults’ from judge

Original article in Korean is at this link.

Update: Some more information is in this update post.

The suicide note of 29-year-old Ms. Byun, who took her own life after saying she felt insulted by the judge in the trial of her accused rapist, was published on the 12th.

Her family have confirmed the authenticity of the note and plan to send it to the Supreme Court with a petition based on it. Her family also plan to refer the Seoul District Court judge to the National Human Rights Commission over his conduct during the trial of the alleged rapist, Mr. Jin.

The note, which was released to the Dong-A Ilbo today after being sent to her family and the judge, runs six pages and says that “the judge insulted me when he sided with the man who raped me and pushed me to accept a settlement.” Ms. Byun also wrote that “the judge refused to believe me because he said ‘you didn’t graduate middle school and just lived as a helper in a noraebang’… I may have come from difficult family circumstances and not had a chance to study much, but I am absolutely not a liar or someone who would put blame on a stranger.”

Ms. Byun also wrote that “the judge said that ‘Mr. Jin is a nice young man who works in a company’ and that I was a slut who was ruining his life to make money… I have worked so hard in my life and made a lot of money so I don’t need money.” She then wrote that “if you can’t believe me then what are you doing in court… you think if a person in a noraebang is raped then they were a temptress?”

In the letter sent to her mother, Ms. Byun wrote that “after going to court I felt I had been stripped naked in front of someone.” She wrote that “after I was assaulted I felt like dying so many times, but I barely decided to live… now I think I have to die, please listen to my words.”

Finally, Ms. Byun wrote that “there is over 50 million won [US$46,000] in my bank account, please use it to hire a good lawyer and do something about this,” then included the mobile phone number of the prosecutor who investigated Mr. Jin, the accused rapist. Four pages of the note were found in the Oryu-dong hotel where Ms. Byun committed suicide, and the other two were found by her family in her home and given to prosecutors.

Mr. Jin, who was released on bail at the end of April and has laid low since Ms. Byun’s suicide, was re-imprisoned on the 11th. The judge revoked Mr. Jin’s bail immediately after Ms. Byun’s suicide. Prosecutors have asked for a three-year sentence for Mr. Jin, and the judge will likely make his ruling on the 24th.