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South Korean accused of sympathising with North, by retweeting its govt posts, acquitted

Published on Aug 28, 2014 3:09 PM
 
South Korean soldiers patrol along a military fence near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas in the border city of Paju on April 26, 2013. South Korea's top court on Thursday, Aug 28, 2014, acquitted a man accused of sympathising with North Korea by retweeting posts by its government, arguing his action poses little threat to national security. -- PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (AFP) - South Korea's top court on Thursday acquitted a man accused of sympathising with North Korea by retweeting posts by its government, arguing his action poses little threat to national security.

Mr Park Jeong Geun, a 26-year-old photographer, was arrested and charged in 2012 of violating the National Security Law by retweeting posts by the North's official Twitter account. A district court handed Mr Park a suspended jail term but an appellate court later found him innocent.

The Supreme Court of Korea upheld the acquittal, after prosecutors appealed the ruling, saying his actions "did not pose tangible threats to national security". Mr Park has argued his retweets, including posts like "Long Live General Kim Jong Il", were meant to ridicule the North's leaders and its rigid Stalinist system rather than praise them.

Under the notorious anti-communist law, South Koreans are banned from activities deemed to be praising or sympathising with the North, which still remains at war with the South technically.

 
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