Man in South Korea jailed for poem praising North – JURIST

Lee Yoon-seop, a 68-year-old man from South Korea, was sentenced to 14 months in jail Monday for writing a poem that praised North Korea and getting into it into a contest organised by a North Korean propaganda web site, in line with the Yonhap Information Company. He was charged with breaching South Korea’s National Security Act which, below Article 7, bans praising, inciting or propagating actions of an antigovernment group.

The Nationwide Safety Act has come below criticism from human rights organisations in recent times, together with allegations that it was used as an “excuse to disclaim individuals the appropriate to specific totally different political beliefs and to train basic human rights together with the appropriate to freedom of expression as established in worldwide requirements.” In 2012, South Korean man Park Jung-geun obtained a suspended sentence for retweeting content material from a North Korean Twitter account. Extra lately, in 2014 a 73-year-old man, solely recognized as “Lee” was acquitted of costs for following the official Twitter account for North Korea however was sentenced to a yr in jail for writing blogs that praised the North.

The UN Human Rights Committee raised concerns over the usage of Article 7 of the Nationwide Safety Act in October 2023, however it was knowledgeable that there have been no plans to abolish the article “which was warranted for safeguarding nationwide safety.” South Korea assured the committee that the “Authorities was defending the liberty of expression of its residents.”

On this newest case, Lee Yoon-seop was accused of submitting a poem in 2016 to the Uriminzokkiri web site, which is a state-controlled North Korean web site. Submitted as a part of a contest run by the web site again in 2016, it praised North Korea, stating that “if the 2 Koreas had been united below Pyongyang’s socialist system, individuals would get free housing, healthcare and schooling.” The sentencing courtroom said that Lee had glorified and praised North Korea and had threatened the “existence and safety of the nation or the essential liberal democratic order over a protracted time period.”

Amnesty Worldwide issued a statement Monday responding to the sentencing. East Asia researcher Boram Jang mentioned that ‘The Nationwide Safety Act shouldn’t be used arbitrarily to harass, arrest or silence those that are solely peacefully exercising their proper to freedom of opinion and expression.” The assertion went on to name for South Korea to amend the Nationwide Safety Act and, particularly Article 7, to make sure alignment with worldwide human rights legal guidelines.

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