South Korean MP Sentenced to 12 Years for Treason

News ID: 286195 Service: Other Media
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TEHRAN (Tasnim) - A South Korean court on Monday sentenced an opposition legislator to 12 years in prison after a rare treason trial saw him convicted of plotting an armed revolt in support of North Korea.

Prosecutors had demanded 20 years for Lee Seok-Ki, 52, who was tried along with six other members of his left-wing United Progressive Party. They were sentenced to terms ranging from four to 12 years.

Lee was the first member of the National Assembly (parliament) to face treason charges since the country's transformation from a military-backed autocracy to a fully-fledged democracy in the 1980s.

As well as his prison term, the court ordered Lee deprived of his civil rights for 10 years following his eventual release.

After parliament voted to lift his immunity from arrest, Lee was charged last September under the 65-year-old National Security Law, which rights groups have accused past administrations of using to stifle debate and silence political opposition.

The charges related to meetings Lee held with his supporters in May last year, at a time of surging military tensions following the North's third nuclear test, AFP reported.

The court was told how Lee had told members of his group to prepare attacks on South Korea's communication lines and railways in case of a full-scale conflict breaking out with the North.

"We see sufficient evidence that (the defendant) plotted a revolt and planned collective actions to carry it out," said the court ruling.

The trial also heard how Lee had made remarks sympathetic to North Korea and sung North Korean "revolutionary" propaganda songs at the meetings.

Lee steadfastly denied all the charges, saying he was the victim of a "witch hunt" by South Korea's spy agency aimed at deflecting public attention from a scandal involving a number of its agents meddling in the 2012 presidential election.

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