Kim Jae Kyu, confessed assassin of South Korea's President Park Chung Hee, has sent a secret appeal to that country's highest court to be allowed to commit suicide rather than be executed. The suicide proposal was included in a court document privately circulated in South Korea and made available to The Washington Post.
There is virtually no chance that South Korea's Supreme Court will comply with Kim's emotional plea, contained in a 16-page memorandum prepared by his lawyers and submitted to the court Feb. 5. A final review of Kim's death sentence is scheduled to be concluded next month with the execution expected to follow soon after.
The memorandum was couched in terms that make it in part a last political testimonial and in part an effort by Kim to depict himself as a patriot who shot and killed Park Oct. 26 to save the country a bloodbath and to "restore liberal democracy."
"If the government executes me," Kim wrote, "critizens will bear a grudge against the government." He argues that if he were to take his own life his death would not become a catalyst for the removal of antigovernment activities among students, religious leaders and intellectuals.
In the memorandum, Kim also claimed that he had been tortured by his interrogators and forced to donate all of his property to the government. He asked that the property be returned and distributed to familes of his codefendants.
Kim asserted that the potential for a civilian uprising against 'dictatorial regime of Park" was for more serious than has generally been realized. Kim claimed that Park was about to throw the country into turmoil by launching a bloody repression against students in Pusan and other urban centers.
The students rioted against Park's rule in early October and sparked a political crisis within South Korea. Kim's assertions portrayed a much wider dissatisfaction with the government than the government has ever acknowledged.
The document was prepared in jail and signed and thumb-printed by Kim. Thumb-printing was withnessed by an Army master sergeant guard in accordance with prison regulations. The Washington Post verified its authenticity through persons involved in its delivery into the United States. aSome parts of the memorandum have been known to the South Korean press for some time but have not been published in South Korea because of military censorship.
Kim said his action was a "revolution to restore liberal democracy." He said that he concluded that on the basis of information he had at that time as the Director of the Korean CIA, bloodshed between government and students was unavoidable.
The memorandum frequently expressed contempt for the military court that tried him. "I believe, at this writing, that Army is manipulating all the politics . . . when it comes to politics, I am an expert, not you judges who are in military uniforms. . . ." he said.