UPP lawmaker Lee sentenced to 12 years in prisonUpdated: 2014-02-18 AM 10:01:45 (KST)
The verdict is in.
Leftist lawmaker Lee Seok-ki of the Unified Progressive Party has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for plotting to overthrow the South Korean government and will also be stripped of holding public office for 10 years after his release from prison.
The ruling handed down by the Suwon District Court said Lee violated the National Security Law and is guilty of leading a clandestine pro-North Korea group called the Revolutionary Organization, or RO, which was planning to blow up key infrastructure in South Korea in the event of an inter-Korean war.
The court said it found pro-North Korea documents in Lee's possession and that he had previously sung North Korean military songs, both of which are prohibited under the South's National Security Law.
Other members of the UPP, who were on trial on similar charges, were sentenced to four to seven years in jail.
Monday's decision follows an intensive investigation that included statements made by a whistle-blower from the Revolutionary Organization.
The court said the RO had been planning a rebellion since March, and that it included an armed revolt in the capital Seoul.
Both the ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition Democratic Party said they supported the verdict, while the UPP has criticized it, saying the judiciary gave in to pressure from the government.
Lee is likely to appeal the case, and he continues to deny all the accusations against him.
Speculation now surrounds how Monday's verdict might affect another decision currently pending at the Constitutional Court, that being the question of whether the Unified Progressive Party should be dissolved.
Kwon So-a, Arirang News.
Reporter : firstname.lastname@example.org