Greenpeace said Monday it has filed a lawsuit against the South Korean government for denying the entry of its anti-nuclear activists, calling it an attempt to "silence criticism of nuclear policies."
The lawsuit lodged with the Seoul Central District Court on Monday demanded a total of 68.8 million won ($63,762) in compensation for inflicting mental and financial losses by disrupting six staff members' "ability to conduct their campaign about the risks of nuclear energy and for other damages," the international environmental group said.
The six tried to enter the country to perform their work and attend a seminar on nuclear power in Seoul sometime between November 2011 and October 2012, but Seoul barred their entry without giving any reason, the group claimed.
The entry denial also "was an attack on freedom of expression and a violation of international human rights," it added.
"Following the Fukushima disaster, the Korean government is trying to silence us for highlighting the tremendous risks nuclear power poses. It refuses to hear criticism of its nuclear programme and actively attacks those attempting to inform the public," Pino Lee, nuclear campaigner with Greenpeace East Asia, based in Seoul, was quoted as saying by the group in its press statement.
"This illustrates the dangerous influence the nuclear industry has on Korea's political system, and represents a violation of the right to freedom of expression under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the Korean government has acceded to," he said.
Greenpeace, the non-governmental environmental organization with offices in over 40 countries, established a Seoul office in June 2011. (Yonhap)