KOREA NEWS South Korea jails 68-year-old man for poem praising North...

South Korea jails 68-year-old man for poem praising North Korea: Report | World News

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A South Korean court sentenced a 68-year-old man to 14 months in jail for praising North Korea in a poem. The poem by Lee Yoon-seop advocated for unification and was published in North Korea’s state media in 2016, BBC reported citing South Korean media reports.

Lee Yoon-seop was convicted under a law that prohibits public praise of North Korea.(AP)

In its ruling, a Seoul court said as per the Korea Herald that Lee Yoon-seop “continued to generate and disseminate a considerable amount of propaganda that glorified and praised the North.”

Lee Yoon-seop wrote in his poem that if the two Koreas were united under Pyongyang’s socialist system, people would get free housing, healthcare and education.

He titled the piece ‘Means of Unification’ and argued that in a united Korea, less people will commit suicides or live in debt. The poem was one of the winners of a poetry contest in North Korea in November 2016.

Lee Yoon-seop was convicted under a law that prohibits public praise of North Korea as South Korea’s national security act outlaws the praise and promotion of “anti-government” organisations.

The 68-year-old has earlier been jailed for 10 months for a similar offence, The Korea Herald reported as he posted comments online praising North Korea’s military in 2013. He has also posted anti-state content on South Korean blogs and websites in subsequent years.

South Korea’s top court earlier this year ruled the security law constitutional despite calls in recent years for the law to be reviewed in favour of free speech.

This comes as North Korea is restoring front-line guard posts that it had dismantled, South Korea’s military said. The two Koreas previously dismantled or disarmed 11 of their guard posts inside the Demilitarized Zone under a 2018 deal which is now in danger of being scrapped as both Koreas openly threaten to breach it.

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