Teachers charged under national security law

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Teachers charged under national security law


북한 평양 ‘만수대창작사’ 내부에 위치한 비석엔 김정일 전 국방위원장의 강성대국을 위한 투쟁신념이 새겨져 있다(아래). 최모 교사가 자신이 담임을 맡은 학급에 걸어둔 급훈(위)과 비석에 새겨진 문장이 토씨 하나 안 틀리고 똑같다. [사진 서울중앙지검]

Four teachers belonging to the Korean Teachers & Educational Workers’ Union were indicted yesterday on charges of violating National Security Law for pro-North Korea lectures and other activities.

Although individual teachers in the left-leaning union have been arrested before, this is the first time a group has been charged with a crime.

The group includes a 52-year-old female surnamed Park who held a high-ranking position in the union.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said yesterday the four teachers formed a group called the Education Movement for a New Era in January 2008. The group gave pro-Pyongyang lectures to people preparing to work as public school teachers and members of the Korean Government Employees’ Union on two occasions.

Prosecutors said before 2008 the four teachers organized events to teach students about North Korea’s self-reliance national ideology, or juche, why U.S. forces should be withdrawn from Korea and why the National Security law, which they are now charged with breaking, should be abolished.

One student who participated in one of those events in 2005 told an online media outlet, “I learned the U.S. army is bad. And now I empathize with a song that I learned [during the program] that calls for killing American soldiers,” according to prosecutors.

The prosecutors said the teacher named Park visited North Korea 26 times.

By Kang Jin-kyu [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]
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