Lee pressed to sack rights panel head
President Lee Myung-bak has turned a deaf ear to the mounting calls to not to reappoint embattled Hyun Byung-chul as head of the state human rights organization for another three years.
On Wednesday, Cheong Wa Dae showed few signs of rethinking its plan to allow the chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to extend his tenure, despite a public outcry.
A high-ranking official said he understands that Lee is not reconsidering his decision about Hyun at the moment. The reaction came amid mounting calls for Hyun to resign. Amnesty International, domestic human rights activists and some 400 law professors urged President Lee to withdraw the nomination. Lawmakers of the ruling Saenuri Party also remained skeptical about the nomination.
President Lee’s stalwart endorsement of the commission’s troubled leader is likely to backfire as the 68-year-old is allegedly “the total package” of corruption.
Hyun was grilled during a National Assembly hearing held Monday and Tuesday for his alleged involvement in multiple scandals.
The 68-year-old displayed troubled ethics. He earned 100 million won annually over two years from 2007 to 2008 while serving as a faculty member of Hanyang University Department of Law. Lawmakers of the main opposition Democratic United Party (DUP) raised suspicions about the income because Hyun never taught any classes during the period.
DUP members were also suspicious of how Hyun was able to assume the post of assistant professor of the university back in 1984 after earning a master’s degree. He was promoted to associate professor four years later still without a doctoral degree. He earned his doctoral degree in 1991.
People do assume such posts without a doctoral degree. But they have their own expertise. Some of them are medical doctors, judges or those in the entertainment industry. Hyun was in none of these areas, escalating the suspicions.
Hyun’s son, who is now a graduate school student, is suspected of dodging mandatory military service. He gained 13 kilograms of weight for a year, hitting the 113 kilogram mark that enabled him to avoid military services. Due to the weight, he was ordered to work as a community worker instead.
DUP members alleged Hyun’s son could have intentionally gained weight to dodge military services.
Hyun is also suspected of evading taxes, property speculation and even plagiarism, which he denied without providing any evidence.