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Court orders state to pay W10m to Moroccan asylum seeker for mistreatment

By Lee Jaeeun

Published : May 9, 2024 - 17:47

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Human rights activists hold a press conference in front of the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul, on Thursday, to urge the court to order the government to pay in compensation to the Moroccan asylum seeker who was detained in the Hwaseong Immigration Detention Center for months in 2021 and suffered inhuman treatment there. (Yonhap) Human rights activists hold a press conference in front of the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul, on Thursday, to urge the court to order the government to pay in compensation to the Moroccan asylum seeker who was detained in the Hwaseong Immigration Detention Center for months in 2021 and suffered inhuman treatment there. (Yonhap)

A local court ordered the government to pay 10 million won ($7,500) in compensation to the Moroccan asylum seeker who was detained in the Hwaseong Immigration Detention Center for months beginning in March 2021 and suffered inhuman treatment there.

The Seoul Central District Court delivered the ruling Thursday, about three years after the incident occurred at the detention center, during which the detainee was hog-tied, with his hands and feet bound behind his back.

The Moroccan man originally arrived in Korea in 2017 as an asylum seeker but was transferred to the facility in March 2021 shortly after authorities issued a deportation order against him.

When the detainee protested against being held in solitary confinement more than 12 times in three months, the asylum seeker was left behind on the floor of a solitary jail cell while placed on his stomach and both hands and feet bound, several times.

This is the first ruling that a court has declared asylum seekers' claim for damages for ill-treatment at the detention center.

Kim Ji-rim, an attorney with the GongGam Human Rights Law Foundation who represented the Moroccan man, said, “The Ministry of Justice should not appeal and should work to improve the system to prevent further human rights violations at detention centers nationwide.”