Seoul Court Awards 4.5 Billion Won to Victims of Brothers Welfare Center

SEOUL — In a landmark ruling, the Seoul Central District Court on Friday mandated the South Korean government to pay compensation to the victims of human rights abuses at the Brothers Welfare Center, a defunct detention facility for vagrants in Busan. The court's decision marks the second acknowledgment of state responsibility in the mistreatment at the center.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the state is ordered to compensate 16 former detainees with a total of 4.5 billion won (approximately US$3.3 million). The court found the state accountable for the psychological harm and violations of physical freedom and human dignity endured by the plaintiffs during their time at the Brothers Welfare Center. Compensation was determined based on an annual rate of 80 million won per victim, taking into account the duration of detention and the side effects experienced. The facility, operational from 1976 to 1987 and aimed at societal purification and vagrant rehabilitation, faced accusations of extensive human rights violations, including illegal detentions, forced labor, beatings, and sexual violence, resulting in the deaths of 513 inmates under its care.

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