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Appeal Proceedings to Be
Closed Session in China

August 11, 2003

Message from LFNKR to NGOs and Rights Groups

Below, for your reference, is an update on the Yantai boat people's trial. This was sent out by our organization, LFNKR, to other NGOs and human rights groups working on behalf of North Korean refugees.

Mr. Jiang Zemin
People's Republic of China
Beijing, China

Subject: No open trial for Choi Yong-hun and other aid workers?

Your Excellency,

A plea by the wife and daughters of Choi Yong-hun, a South Korean citizen arrested while helping North Korean refugees trying to flee China back in January, is turning world attention to the plight of Choi, who is still being detained by Chinese authorities.

In our last email to you, we wrote that "The defendants' lawyers, who filed appeals on June 2, said the appeal hearing is usually held about a month after the appeal is filed."

And today, August 11, we finally received information that the final trial of Choi Yong-hun and other aid workers will likely be concluded by a "written verdict" rather than another open trial. This may take place around the middle of this month, possibly as early as tomorrow.

Despite repeated petitions from the international community, including South Korea and a number of Japanese Diet members, China has issued no public response.

Those following this case closely have tried to gain some sense of which way the court is leaning, or what verdict may be handed down, but all requests for information have been rejected.

Is China waiting for us to forget this case? Suggestions from NGOs and other interested parties regarding possible next moves are more than welcome.

Kenkichi Nakadaira
Life Funds for North Korean Refugees
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