S. Korea's top court rules police blockade of plaza unconstitutional

08:29, July 01, 2011      

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South Korea's top court said Thursday the 2009 police blockade of a plaza in central Seoul following the death of former President Roh Moo-hyun is unconstitutional.

Police repeatedly cordoned off the large plaza in front of the Seoul city hall with police vehicles to stop demonstrators from holding rallies in memory of Roh, who leapt to his death in May 2009 amid investigations that allegedly implicated him.

The unnecessarily excessive police action infringed upon people's rights to free movement, and the police assumption that the rallies would be illegal was only hypothetical, the Constitutional Court of Korea said, ruling the blockade unconstitutional in a 7-2 decision.

The petition was filed by nine civic activists in Seoul.

The controversial bribery investigations, criticized for being politically motivated, were suspended shortly after Roh's death.

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