Blogger Park Dae-sung
By Park Si-soo
The prosecution sought 18 months in jail for online commentator Park Dae-sung, better known by the penname Minerva, Monday.
The 31-year-old was indicted in January on charges of spreading false financial rumors on the nation's second portal Daum's bulletin board to allegedly destabilize the foreign currency market here.
Prosecutors nabbed him in January. They believe he is the author of over 100 online postings critical of the Lee Myung-bak government's handling of the economy.
Among the postings, prosecutors claimed they found fault with articles posted on July 30 and Dec. 29 last year.
Minerva made his name online after predicting the fall of Lehman Brothers and the plunge of the won against the U.S. dollar. The community college graduate has been touted as an ``oracle'' among liberal citizens and civic groups, while conservative pro-government people criticized him for undermining President Lee's leadership, calling him a ``doomsayer.'' His arrest triggered debates on freedom of speech in cyber space, drawing keen attention from the international media.