Posted : 2014-02-17 16:35
Updated : 2014-02-17 16:35

Leftist lawmaker gets 12-year prison term for rebellion plot

In a landmark ruling, a district court Monday sentenced a left-wing lawmaker to 12 years in prison for plotting an armed rebellion against the South Korean government in case of an inter-Korean war.

Rep. Lee Seok-ki, affiliated with the minor opposition Unified Progressive Party (UPP), was found guilty of conspiring with members of a clandestine organization to topple the Seoul government if a war with North Korea broke out.

The Suwon District Court in Suwon, south of Seoul, also stripped the 52-year-old legislator of his civic rights, such as suffrage, for 10 years following his eventual release from prison.

It is the first time that a sitting member of parliament was convicted of the rare charges of plotting an armed uprising to overthrow a democratically elected government.

Court documents showed that Lee talked with about 130 other members of the secret underground organization, Revolutionary Organization (RO), during late-night secret meetings in central Seoul last May about blowing up key infrastructure in South Korea, including communication lines and railways.

Past military-backed governments used insurgency charges to suppress political dissidents. However, there have been no indictments over insurgency plots or other similar anti-government charges in recent years since democratically elected leaders replaced the country's past military dictators.

In 1980, former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000, was put behind bars for the same charge but later was acquitted in a retrial.

The UPP lawmaker flatly denied the accusations, saying that the trumped-up charges were brought against him by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) as a means of distracting public attention from an investigation into allegations that it meddled in the 2012 presidential election.

In September, the NIS raided the UPP office and arrested Lee and seven other UPP members.

The National Assembly soon tabled a motion, introduced by the ruling Saenuri Party, that calls for expelling Lee. His expulsion is subject to two-thirds approval from the ethics committee and then two-thirds approval from the full National Assembly.

In an unprecedented move, the government also filed a petition with the Constitutional Court calling for the disbandment of the UPP.

On Monday, Lee was also found guilty of a separate charge of sympathizing with North Korea, in violation of the South's anti-communist National Security Law.

Enacted in 1948 to fight communism, the draconian security law bans any "anti-state" activities that attempt to praise, encourage or propagandize North Korean political ideals.

The lawmaker made remarks sympathetic to North Korea and sang North Korea's "revolutionary" propaganda songs before hundreds of members who attended the organization's meetings held between March and August of last year, court documents showed. Lee also possessed publications praising the communist regime.

In 2002, Lee was previously sentenced to two years and six months in prison for playing a part in a pro-North Korea organization but was later released on presidential pardon. He was elected to the National Assembly on a proportional representation ticket in 2012 general elections. (Yonhap)

관련 한글 기사

이석기 내란음모·선동·국보법 위반…징역 12년

법원이 통합진보당 이석기 의원에게 적용된 내란음모와 선동, 국가보안법 위반 혐의에 대해 모두 유죄로 판단했다.

34년 만의 내란음모 사건에 사법부가 유죄 결론을 내린 것이다.

수원지방법원 형사12부(부장판사 김정운)는 17일 내란음모 등 혐의로 구속기소된 이 의원에 대해 징역 12년과 자격정지 10년을 선고했다.

또 이상호 등 나머지 피고인에게는 징역 4∼7년, 자격정지 4∼7년을 각각 선고했다.

재판부는 '내란음모 사건을 처음 국가정보원에 제보한 이모씨의 법정 진술은 신빙성이 있다'며 'RO는 지휘체계를 갖춘 조직으로 내란혐의 주체로, 총책은 이 의원인 사실이 인정된다'고 판단했다.

또 '지난해 5월 (곤지암, 합정동) 두차례 모임은 조직 모임으로 봐야 한다'며 '사상학습하는 소모임은 RO의 세포모임으로 봐야 한다'고 덧붙였다.

이어 '이 의원 등이 혁명동지가와 적기가를 부르고 이적표현물을 소지한 사실도 인정된다'고 재판부는 밝혔다.

이 의원 등은 지난해 5월 RO 조직원 130여명과 가진 비밀회합에서 통신·유류시설 등 국가기간시설 파괴를 모의하고 인명 살상 방안을 협의하는 등 내란을 음모한 혐의로 기소됐다.

또 2012년 3월부터 지난해 5월까지 RO 조직원 수백 명이 참석한 모임에 수차례 참석, 북한 주장에 동조하는 발언을 하고, 북한 혁명가요인 혁명동지가, 적기가 등을 부른 혐의 등으로 기소됐다.

피고인들은 북한 이념서적 등 이적표현물을 소지한 혐의도 받고 있다.

한편 검찰은 지난 3일 결심공판에서 이 의원에게 징역 20년과 자격정지 10년, 이상호 등 나머지 피고인에게 각각 징역 10∼15년과 자격정지 10년 등을 구형했다.

이날 1심 선고로 지난해 11월 12일 첫 공판부터 46차례 이어진 재판이 모두 끝났다.

지난해 8월 28일 이 의원 등 피고인들에 대한 압수수색으로 사건이 세상에 알려진지 174일 만이다.


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