November 04, 2011 13:12
The Seoul High Court ruled on Thursday that the dismissal of disgraced veterinarian Hwang Woo-suk by Seoul National University in 2006 was excessive and he should be reinstated, even though it conceded that his conduct warranted punishment.
Hwang was fired after it was found that he had faked stem-cell research results that falsely gave hope to sufferers from incurable diseases. The one-time “national scientist” sued but lost at first instance.
The court said previous court rulings only established that Hwang, as the leading researcher of the stem-cell team, neglected his duty to oversee all the projects and disgraced the image of SNU and the country by publishing articles containing fabricated data. It therefore upheld the reasons on which the university based its dismissal. But it said the dismissal was excessive given the violations he was accused of at the time.
Hwang was fired in April 2006 for falsifying results in articles published in 2004 and 2005.
But whether he is reinstated will be determined after the Supreme Court decides in a separate criminal case for embezzlement of public funds. Hwang was sentenced at second instance to 18 months in prison and two years probation, but appealed. If the Supreme Court upholds the conviction, Hwang automatically forfeits any position with a public institution like SNU.
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