Yushin Constitution-illegality

SEOUL, March 21 (Yonhap) -- In a landmark ruling, the Constitutional Court on Thursday declared a series of emergency decrees based on the Yushin Constitution, which was declared by the military regime of the late President Park Chung-hee in 1970s in an attempt to remain in power, as unconstitutional.

Park, who ruled the nation from 1961-1979 after seizing power in a military coup, introduced a new constitution, known as the Yushin (revitalizing reform) Constitution in 1972. The father of incumbent President Park Geun-hye then proclaimed a total of nine presidential emergency decrees, which empowered him to take extraordinary liberties in time of national crisis and banned all activities opposing or slandering the Yushin Constitution as well as any press reports on those activities.

In a unanimous decision, the court ruled the emergency decrees No. 1, 2, and 9 as unconstitutional.

The court, however, did not judge the constitutionality of the Yushin Constitution, as it was just a ground for the decrees.

A petition was filed by six people, including a Seoul man only identified by his surname Oh, who was convicted in 1974 for criticizing the government, in violation of the decree.

Oh was found guilty of making critical remarks in public against the former Park administration and served three years in prison.

The court said the emergency decrees No. 1 and 2 and 9 are unconstitutional as they "greatly limited and infringed upon people's basic rights."

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