Ensure Private First Class Andre Fisher Gets a Fair Trial in South Korea

Twenty-two year old Soldier was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to 2 years in a South Korean prison for the alleged theft of $88.

Dear Senator Bob Casey:

Dear Senator Pat Toomey:

When an individual joins the U.S. military, they do so out of love for their country, and a commitment to defending the ideals that have made this country great: liberty, equal opportunity, and justice. Our soldiers are fully aware of the risks of enlistment. They are aware that they could be sent off to war at moment?s notice and that they could lose their lives, limbs, and psychological well being as a result. They are aware of the fear and anxiety their parents, spouses, children, and friends feel at the prospect of them returning home in a casket. Despite these risks and concerns, our service men and women enlist anyway; with the faith that the military will act in the best interests of the country, and its soldiers.

Unfortunately, this faith has been dashed for many of your constituents who learned of the incarceration of Andre Fisher, a 22 year old Private First Class, in a South Korean prison. According to news reports on MSNBC and local newspapers from around the country, a cab driver accused Fisher of stealing $88 from his car. Fisher denied having even entered the cab and even emptied his pockets containing $14. Subsequently, Fisher was taken into custody by Korean police, and a trial ensued in which the prosecutor?s only evidence was a grainy surveillance video of a tall, slender man wearing a hood in which his face was obscured. Andre is tall and well built. Addiitonally, Mr. Fisher was not allowed to call his own witnesses in the trial, a violation of the Status of Armed Forces Agreement between the U.S. and South Korea. Based on the video evidence in which the accuser?s face was not visible, Fisher was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment in a South Korean prison for the theft of $88. Additionally, according to Fisher?s parents in the news reports, military commanders have been unresponsive to their requests for information on exactly what took place, how the legal process was handled, and why Fisher was handed over to the Korean authorities in the manner that he was.

We are not writing to argue for or against Mr. Fisher?s innocence; that cannot be determined from the information available to the public. Nor are we writing to argue the egregious abuse of power the Korean legal system has demonstrated with such a lengthy sentence in a case involving such a meager amount of money. Instead, we are writing you because we believe our military service men and women deserve better treatment from the military than Mr. Fisher has received; and are petitioning you to intervene on Mr. Fisher?s behalf by investigating whether or not the military played its role in ensuring Mr. Fisher received proper legal support and counsel. We also ask you to exert your influence in ensuring the Korean government granted Mr. Fisher a fair and impartial trial. We encourage you to consider and investigate the following:

1- As many American expatriates, in South Korea will confirm, in the case of ?he said- she said? scenarios, the Korean authorities will often side with their countrymen. According to Mr. Fisher?s parents, Mr. Fisher never entered the accuser?s taxi. However, he was taken into custody based on the fact that the taxi driver pointed him out as the thief and despite the fact that he emptied his pockets possessing only $14.

2- The Korean justice system has a conviction rate of 99% which could be the consequence of several elements within their legal system, particularly loose evidence standards as apparent in the case of Mr. Fisher?s trial. According to Mr. Fisher?s parents, the only evidence submitted in the trial was a grainy surveillance video of a male wearing a hood. Again, the man's face was not visible in the video, according to news reports.

3- What has the military done on Mr. Fisher?s behalf to ensure that he received a fair trial?

We call on you, Senator Casey and Senator Toomey, to intervene on Mr. Fisher?s behalf in ensuring that due-process takes course and that Mr. Fisher receives a fair trial. It is a sad day when doubt of whether our military will defend and protect our warriors in these types of situations are allowed to take root; on foreign soil of all places. Andre, the Fisher family, and the American expatriate community in South Korea are counting on you to ensure our warriors receive proper legal protection while defending our national interests overseas.

Thank you for your attention.


The Undersigned