“The last time I saw Kim was in Seoul, for the launch of Speak Truth To Power there. I asked him how he was doing. At the time he was the Speaker of the House and was considering a run for the presidency. What a transformation. What a life he led, and what a perfect partner he found in In Jae Keun, his wife and partner in the struggle for human rights.”
A couple united in their efforts to create a democratic South Korea, Kim Keun Tae and In Jae Jeun used everything at their disposal to improve the human rights situation in their country, including their own safety. As founder of the National Youth Alliance, Kim Keun Tae was also a lifelong critic of the military dictatorship that came to power in the 1960s. In 1985, he was jailed and endured three weeks of beatings, electric shock, and water torture. He was still in jail in 1987, when he and In Jae Jeun received the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.
In Jae Keun used her husband’s experiences to draw attention to the the systematic abuse of political prisoners under the junta.
Kim Keun Tae was released in 1988 and later became a prominent member of the democratic South Korean government, serving as a lawmaker, cabinet member, and leader of the governing party. He passed away on December 30, 2011. In a tweet posted after Mr. Kim’s death, former Prime Minister Han Myung-sook said, “When we feel no longer intimidated and enjoy freedom, we are all obliged to remember him.”