Military probe team questions two-star general over martial law allegations
SEOUL, A military probe team on Thursday questioned a two-star Army general as part of an investigation into allegations that a defense unit drew up a document detailing the possible invocation of martial law to quash anti-government protests last year.
Maj. Gen. So Gang-won allegedly led a task force of the Defense Security Command (DSC) charged with writing the document to handle the protests in case a court ruling over the fate of corruption-tainted then President Park Geun-hye sparked unrest.
"I will earnestly respond to the prosecution's investigation," he told reporters as he appeared at the prosecution office inside the defense ministry compound in central Seoul.
A day earlier, the investigators questioned Brigadier Gen. Gi Woo-jin over his alleged role in producing the controversial document.
So and Gi have been suspended from their duties pending investigation, the defense ministry said.
Investigators are focusing on determining who directed the DSC to devise military steps to cope with the protests and if the unit intended to put them into action.
The unclassified version of the DSC document included steps to control the media, parliament and the spy agency under martial law. These steps were heavily criticized as a potential threat to the country's democracy.
The case has drawn the ire of the public, as critics say that the use of the military to curb public rallies runs counter to democratic principles, and could mark another case of political interference by the military.
Some even called the DSC document part of preparations for a military insurrection, while conservatives argue that the military is entitled to craft measures to prepare for any scenario that could compromise national security.
Source: Yonhap News Agency