Pro-North civic group is raided again by police

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Pro-North civic group is raided again by police

The National Police Agency yesterday raided the office and residences of nine leaders of the National Alliance for Democracy and Reunification of Korea, or NADRK, and arrested two top key officials for allegedly violating national security law.

The nine residences raided by the police include that of Kim Eul-soo, the organization’s acting chairperson. The police confiscated hard drives, cellphones, booklets allegedly supporting North Korea’s nuclear program and other materials from the homes and the office, which is in Yeongdeungpo District, southwestern Seoul.

Police from Seoul and Gyeonggi assisted the National Police Agency in the raid.

In March, the pro-North Korea alliance released statements criticizing a joint military drill by the United States and Korea and United Nations Security Council sanctions against North Korea, said the police. The statements also belittled the South Korean government, it said.

In a statement on March 28, the organization defended a long-range missile test by Pyongyang and said that North Korea’s missiles test in December was “a satellite launch for peaceful purposes fully in compliance with international law.” South Korea and the U.S. say it was a test of a long-range missile.

The statement added that the U.S. and other countries should “withdraw sanctions based on UN resolutions immediately.”

The 40-year-old deputy secretary general of the organization surnamed Kim and a 42-year-old man named Lee, who heads the group’s public relations department, were arrested and are currently under investigation by police.

In March 2012, Kim and some others visited North Korea and stayed for 104 days without the South Korean government’s authorization.

In 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that NADRK is an anti-state, pro-Pyongyang organization. Since then, four more rulings were made by the Supreme Court to uphold its earlier conclusion that the organization is an anti-state group.

Last October, NADRK’s chairman Lee Kyu-jae was sentenced to one year in prison for producing leaflets praising the North Korean regime, violating national security law.

Roh Soo-hee, vice chairman of the organization, was sentenced to four years in prison for visiting the North without permission for 100 days to observe North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s funeral.

“Even if the NADRK has been designated a pro-North group, because of freedom of expression under the Constitution, there is little legal evidence to dissolve them,” said one public administrative official.

“As there is no law to dissolve such groups, they are taking advantage of such loopholes and continuing their activities.”



BY SARAH KIM, CHUNG KANG-HYUN [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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