By Park Si-soo
A dismissed prosecutor's application to become a lawyer has been turned down because he leaked personal information of the victims of a cult to the cult's members.
The Korean Bar Association (KBA) said Monday that it will not give the prosecutor, identified only as Lee, the right to practice law.
``We've disapproved his application as he is considered unqualified to be a lawyer,'' said Choe Tae-hyeoung, spokesman for the association.
This is the first case in Korean legal history that a former prosecutor has failed to win the right to offer his services as a lawyer.
Lee will be banned from reapplying for the license for two years, the KBA said. ``He must file a complaint with the Ministry of Justice in three months to nullify the decision. If the ministry accepts the complaint, he can still earn the license. If the ministry refuses, however, an administrative lawsuit is the only way to have the decision turned over,'' Choe said.
In 1999, Lee, a member of the religious cult Jesus Morning Star (JMS) headed by founder Jung Myung-seok, intimidated the head of an association of victims of Jung's sexual violence, threatening its members with punishment for defaming Jung. He also unlawfully offered information regarding the association head's overseas trips to JMS.
In January 2002, the former prosecutor also searched the investigation records of a former female JMS believer, who had accused the founder of molesting her, without permission, informing the religious group of the contents of the documents.
In May 2005, Lee, who was dismissed, filed a lawsuit against the Justice Ministry to invalidate the dismissal but lost.
JMS founder Jung is currently in physical detention having been indicted on charges of sexually assaulting hundreds of female followers.