The Busan metropolitan government said Tuesday it has launched a commission to investigate human rights violations that took place at a vagrants' detention facility in the southeastern port city decades ago.
The commission, headed by social welfare professor Nam Chan-seob, will meet and interview people who survived the alleged illegal confinement and mistreatment of inmates at the Brothers Welfare Center in the city in the 1970s and 1980s.
The commission's nine-month investigation, due to last till April 10 next year, is aimed at confirming whether the state was responsible for the victimization.
Established in 1975 in the name of purifying society and rehabilitating vagrants, the facility was accused of massive human rights abuses, such as illegal detentions, forced labor, beatings and sexual violence. By the time it closed in 1987, 513 inmates had died, according to its records. Some of their bodies were buried secretly.
The commission's investigation of the case also involves an analysis of how detainment at the center had an impact on the surviving victims' lives and how the family of its director, Park In-geun, amassed wealth through the center's management.
Park was found not guilty of abuse charges by the Supreme Court in 1989, although he was convicted of embezzlement that year and served 2 1/2 years. He died in 2016.
In Nov. last year, then Prosecutor-General Moon Moo-il filed an emergency appeal with the Supreme Court against the court ruling. (Yonhap)