South Korean Lawmaker Jailed for Pro-North Plot

Left-wing Lee Seok-ki has denied treason allegations
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 17, 2014 9:45 AM CST
Conservative activists hold defaced photos of leftwing lawmaker Lee Seok-ki during a rally against Lee in front of the Suwon District Court in Suwon, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014.   (AP Photo/Yonhap, Shin Young-geun)
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(Newser) – For the first time in South Korea's nearly three decades as a democracy, a member of parliament has been convicted of treason. Left-wing lawmaker Lee Seok-ki has been sentenced to 12 years in prison over plans he discussed with 130 attendees of a late-night meeting in May, the Wall Street Journal reports; those plans aimed "to destroy the country's infrastructure and key military facilities" if war were to break out between the North and South, the court said. Six others in Lee's United Progressive party received lesser sentences, the AP reports.

According to the court, Lee's group, dubbed the Revolutionary Organization, also secretly sang pro-Pyongyang songs and distributed North Korean literature at some of its meetings. Lee denies the charges. He says South Korean intelligence invented the case as a distraction from allegations against its own agency, which was accused of offering illegal support to the campaign of now-president Park Geun-hye. Lee plans to appeal, the AP notes. "This was made to fit a predetermined conclusion," says a lawyer for the defendants; six others were handed prison sentences of four to seven years. (Read more Lee Seok-ki stories.)

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