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Cablegate: Prison Visit to Amcit Hyo Soon Park

VZCZCXRO6237
PP RUEHVK
DE RUEHVK #0012 0490115
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 180115Z FEB 10
FM AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1262
INFO RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 0548
RUEHVK/AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK 1385

UNCLAS VLADIVOSTOK 000012

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR CA/OCS/EUR; MOSCOW FOR CG; MOSCOW FOR ACS CHIEF

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC RS
SUBJECT: PRISON VISIT TO AMCIT HYO SOON PARK

REF: 2009 VLADIVOSTOK 93 AND PREVIOUS

Background: Hyo Soon Park was charged and convicted of Bribery
of a Government Official. Park was convicted on July 16, 2009
and sentenced to 18 months in jail.

1. On February 15, 2010, Consular Officer and Consular
Agent-Sakhalin visited Park in the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Prison. We
spoke with Park for 30 minutes, uninterrupted, in the presence
of detention officials and the local MFA representative.

2. Park has serious, ongoing problems with his heart. Consular
Agent has been meeting with Park regularly since Park was first
arrested. Consular Agent noted that this was the worst that
Park has ever looked. Park was breathing very heavily and
looked dizzy and disoriented at times. Park reported that the
left side of his body hurts and feels numb, he experiences rapid
heart beating and that his blood pressure fluctuates both high
and low. Consular Agent is able to deliver heart and high blood
pressure medicine prescribed by the prison doctor.

3. Including time served in pre-trial detention, as of February
1, 2010, Park has served more than half of his sentence. Park's
lawyer submitted parole documents to the judge and formally
requested that Park be released on parole. The date of the
hearing has not been set. Park requested that he not attend the
parole hearing due to his poor health. Consulate Vladivostok
has submitted a Diplomatic Note formally requesting that Park be
released on parole for humanitarian reasons.

4. Consular Agent spoke to a judge from the city court, the
court in charge of parole, on February 10, 2010. The judge said
that due to the "severity" of Park's charges, he would not be
due for parole until two-thirds of his sentence was over. It
has been the understanding of Park's lawyer, wife, and the
Consulate, that he was eligible for parole after half of his
sentence was served. The Consulate spoke to Park's wife and
lawyer about this, and his lawyer said that he is eligible for
parole now.

5. Park's wife last visited him on February 5, 2010, and visits
him about once every two months. Consular Agent delivers Korean
language newspaper to Mr. Park on a weekly basis. The Consular
Agent informed Park that he was able to put 2,000 rubles on
Park's prison account and the prison officials allowed us to
deliver fresh fruit to Park.

6. Though the Consular Agent has been visiting Park monthly
without any problems, there was confusion about the procedures
to meet Mr. Park this time. There was a new prison warden and
he said that the Consulate would need to follow different
procedures, which included getting permission from the prison
administration in Moscow and waiting 10 days. (Note: We spoke to
ACS Embassy Moscow, and they are not aware of any 10-day rule.)
After following this procedure we did not have any problems
visiting Park. The previous warden has returned, so it is not
clear if we will need to follow these new procedures for future
visits.

7. Post appreciates the Embassy and the Department also
weighing in with appropriate officials on the urgency of
granting parole for Mr. Park. Parole would be in keeping with
international norms, given that Park cannot receive the medical
treatment he needs in prison.

ARMBRUSTER

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