Nobel Peace Prize nominee to be deported from South Korea

By staff writers
15 Mar 2012

Nobel Peace Prize nominee Angie Zelter is facing deportation from South Korea following a nonviolent protest against the construction of a new naval base.

Along with French activist Benjamin Monnet, she is being held in an immigration centre . They were arrested on Sunday (11 March) while demonstrating against the construction of the base at Gangjeong village on Jeju island.

Korean activist Seri Kim is also under arrest as a result of the protest.
 
For five years, and intensively in recent months, the villagers have been peacefully resisting the construction of the base. They say it will have a huge environmental impact in an area with three Unesco Natural Heritage sites and will disrupt and disfigure the village itself.

The base will act as a port for US destroyers equipped with the Aegis missile defence system. This is seen as critically heightening tensions with China. While there is considerable public and political opposition to the base within South Korea, Seoul is understood to be responding to heavy US pressure to complete the project.
 
Zelter, who lives in Wales, is charged with misdemeanours relating to cutting through the perimeter wire with bolt-cutters and entering the site. Monnet's charges arise from entering the site and occupying a drilling rig.

Korean authorities have refused entry to South Korea to three members of the US Veterans for Peace who intended to offer support to the villagers.
 
A spokesperson for the Gangjeong International Team described the deportations as “a move to undermine international solidarity against the construction”.

The spokesperson said, “The construction and the human rights violations in relation to the construction cannot be explained without the United States’ undue desire for domination as it tries to utilise the Jeju naval base as a springboard to contain China."

[Ekk/1]

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