Woman guilty of praising North

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Woman guilty of praising North

The Daegu District Court said Wednesday that it ruled a woman in her 60s violated South Korea’s National Security Act for praising North Korea’s regime online.

The court gave a one-year suspended prison term to the woman, surnamed Jeong, in November.

The court said Jeong, who once worked as a part-time teacher at an elementary school and has been unemployed since 1999, came across an article on anti-U.S. beef protests in South Korea in April 2008 and came to distrust the local government. Many Koreans believed that the South Korean government’s decision to lift a ban on American beef imports, in place since 2003, could lead to an outbreak of mad cow disease in the country.

In May 2010, Jeong signed up for accounts on online communities that regularly posted content praising the Kim regime of North Korea and its Juche ideology of political, economic and military self-reliance.

On Feb. 22, 2010, Jeong logged on to one online community and read a post on “With the Century,” the autobiography of Kim Il Sung, the North’s late founder.

“After reading this work, I came to know who General Kim Il Sung truly is, and that he is a righteous person worthy of respect,” Jeong wrote in a comment on the post, according to the Daegu court. “I am touched by his words.”

In Sept. 26, 2010, Jeong wrote another comment in another online community that read, “We welcome you with both hands held up high, Kim Jong-il, please come and bring peace into this confused world.”

In other comments, the court said that Jeong wrote, “His Excellency Premier Kim Il Sung and His Excellency Kim Jong-il are gods of great love.”

Jeong also had pro-North Korean materials saved as files on her computer and in handwritten papers at her home, the court said.

“These materials praise the work of North Korean leaders and party members and support the Juche ideology and other ideologies of the North Korean regime, including unification by force,” the court said.

This is not the first time that internet users have been sentenced for violating the National Security Act by posting pro-North Korean materials and comments online. A 50-year-old man surnamed Yoon who managed an online community and regularly posted content praising the North Korean regime and the Kim family was given a suspended sentence in 2011 for violating the National Security Act.

BY KIM JUNG-SEOK, ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]
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