Sponsored by the Friends of Keith H. Yoo.
Should foreign governments be able to control the freedom of US residents?
Recent evidence has shown that foreign powers are taking advantage of the freedoms and laws that have protected people in the US to injure or manipulate them for political gain. One victim of such abuse is Keith Yoo, who is being targeted by the South Korean government in an attempt to conceal its corruption and human rights abuses.
Persecution from Afar
Keith, a US resident who has lived here for more than three decades, is about to be extradited to South Korea as early as next week as a political sacrifice. This is an affront to American ideals.
South Korea’s government has cloaked itself in economic gains to conceal its ties to past military dictatorships. The Sewol Ferry incident stripped this covering away. On April 16, 2014, the Sewol became one of the worst peacetime catastrophes in the nation’s history when an unexplained turn led to the ship listing and taking on water. Experts agree that there was enough time to rescue the passengers. However, corruption within the South Korean government and Coast Guard resulted in the death of over 300 people, 250 of whom were high school students. These officials may have touted themselves as representing a democratic nation, but they were exploiting their power.
Bereaved families watched helplessly as their children’s lives were crushed under the South Korean government’s disrespect for human life. Their calls for justice sparked a nationwide outcry. Millions entered the streets to protest peacefully, only to be met by violent measures directed by the government. To deflect blame and maintain power, officials in the South Korean government targeted members of the Evangelical Baptist Church, and specifically, Keith and his relatives. Officials manipulated media outlets with the falsehood that Keith and the church were involved in the ferry incident, resulting in a blanket of fake news stories about the sinking. An arbitration panel eventually stepped in to attempt to stem the tide of religious persecution. This resulted in the unprecedented correction of over 15,000 articles with fake news.
However, the damage was done: few outside of Korea know that the cause of the sinking is still unknown. Fewer still know that Keith’s family is being used as a political tool so corrupt officials can avoid responsibility for the failure to save innocent lives. Keith’s father, an elderly man with grandchildren, was victimized by an illegal manhunt that resulted in his suspicious death. Members of Keith’s church were viciously slandered in the press, without regard for truth or safety. Many suffered unfair treatment at school and work, some even losing friends and jobs over the disinformation campaign created by the South Korean government.
Land of the Free
Americans are a freedom-loving people. Throughout history, we have always fought to protect these rights for our nation, as well as for others around the world. Religious persecution that hides government corruption is anathema to all those who believe in what is right. Our constitution and laws provide oversight for US citizens and residents. Other countries are not—and should not—be involved with this process. The extradition request for Keith is an example of a foreign government trying to control residents on American soil. There is ample evidence showing members of the church were arrested without warrants, interrogated without being informed of their rights, refused access to an attorney during interrogations, denied food, water, or medical attention during interrogations, and questioned extensively on religious beliefs.
A South Korean military unit even illegally wiretapped church members throughout the country using military equipment and no warrant. There is zero chance Keith will obtain a fair trial in South Korea.
Stop the Abuse of American Ideals
Do not allow foreign governments to abuse American liberties or exercise power over US residents. Sign the petition at Change.org to stop the unjust extradition of Keith. Your representatives and senators can also help. Click here to find your representatives and click here to find your senators. Tell them to contact the State Department to halt the persecution of US residents by foreign governments. Would you like to know the truth about the Sewol Ferry incident? Visit www.sewolfacts.com.