Prominent South Korean Democracy Activist Dies

Posted December 29th, 2011 at 10:50 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

South Korean news media report that a former leading South Korean democracy activist and prominent liberal politician, Kim Geun-tae, has died.

Reports say Kim died Friday from a brain disease at the age of 64.

Kim was known as a democracy activist during dictatorships of the 1970s and 1980s. He was repeatedly jailed and tortured for his opposition against the regimes in support of democracy and labor rights.

In 1987, while in prison, Kim received the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award and was designated a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International.

In 1996, he was elected to the National Assembly and twice won reelection. He was also a former leader of the Uri Party, and a former Health and Welfare Minister.

Kim had battled Parkinson's disease for the past five years. South Korea's Yonhap news agency reports that he died of complications from pneumonia and kidney disease in a Seoul hospital.

It says he is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.