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Ministry of Justice snatched and deported MTU leadership
Byun Jeongpil, Reporter
Today morning all the attendants of press conference in front of the Central Government Complex in Se-Jong Street, Kwanghwamun felt heavy and were filled with indignation. All the three leaders who were caught in separate places and had detained together in Chung-Ju Detention Center were suddenly deported today.

Some human rights groups and the Migrants' Trade Union formed the ‘Emergency Committee against Violent Raids, Revising the Immigration Control Act, and Targeted Crackdown on MTU’ and had held a sit-in at Korean Christian Building in protest against ‘targeted crackdown’ since December, 5.

  Lee, Jungwon

Immigration Officers the Leaders Snatched Leaders through Mountain

Last night sit-in attendants rushed into Chungju in response to the expectation that the three leaders were likely to be deported. In front of Chungju Immigration Center they occupied roads and kept three vans which tried to go out at bay. “We recognized Masum, the general manager, in one of those cars. We saw these cars go back to the center in 8 o’clock in the morning. So we thought we’d almost made it.” Lee Jung-Won, the deputy manager on publicity of MTU, said.

The cars, however, are believed to get out not through the front gate but through the mountains at backyard of the center. One of immigrant workers who is in the sit-in claimed that Masum called and said “We arrived at Incheon International Airport not by the vans but by private sedans through mountains.”

Lee said “Someone who has been personally acquainted with MTU President Kajiman and Vice President Razu could recognize them in his flight to Nepal, and they urgently asked him to call MTU office. So we could be assured that they were deported.” Masum was also known to be waiting for departure in airport at 11:30 present.

Ministry of Justice Overstrained Itself for Deportation

It seems that the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) took unjustified measure, so it cannot help but being accused of human rights infringement. MOJ has also been at dispute over forging signature in removal of former immigrant labor movement leadership.

Human rights groups and MTU filed a petition against ‘targeted crackdown’ on three leaders who were caught in separate places simultaneously. Mr. Lee showed his distrust in the National Human Rights Commission of Korea. It pledged that their deportation would be suspended until the petition is cleared, but they were suddenly deported under cover.

The emergency committee issued statement in which they said “Despite their condition of undocumented worker, they deserve legal rights such as access to courts and being informed of the result over outstanding wages and industrial accidents,” and it deplored the MOJ’s decision.

Besides, the MTU is claiming that they were deprived of an opportunity of litigation. Lee said “We gave out message that departure process must be stopped, because we will make litigation with our lawyer at 5:30. They agreed to us and promised not to.” But, the leaders were removed today in contrast to the words of Immigration Center. So they were definitely deprived of an opportunity of lawsuit.

It has not been ascertained that they signed an approval of departure in their own handwriting. Cobil, a member of MTU in Sung-Su branch, said that Narendra, the president of MTU’s Mid-Kyungki affiliates, was called by Nepali Embassy in Korea and told “Travel certificates were issued for them.” The MTU confirmed that Bangladeshi embassy also issued a certificate for Masum.

The fact that two different embassies issued travel certificates in same day casts cloud over MOJ. Suspicion over MOJ is that it may request these embassies to issue cards in advance so that it can deport the leaders in a day.

Can a Sovereign State Snatch?

The emergency committee defined “snatching deportation” as “the government’s over-strained attempt to oppress MTU.”

“We heard the MOJ say ‘Rejecting releasing and petition to suspend leaving is in undoubted rights of a sovereign state,’ but we don’t have any idea that we have given them the sovereignty to oppress workers, unions, and human rights.” Choi Hyun-Mo, one of co-presidents of the committee, said.

Choi showed willing to fight for “securing labor and human rights of immigrant workers.”

Now the MTU and the National Human Rights Commission of Korea are investigating whether the leaders were deported by lawful measures.

translated by Cho Eunseok

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