Man faces jail in South Korea over poem praising North Korea -Yonhap

SEOUL (Reuters) – A man in South Korea has been sentenced to one year and two months in prison for writing a poem in 2016 praising authoritarian North Korea and breaching a law banning access to the North’s websites, news agency Yonhap reported on Monday.

The man, in his 60s, was charged with breaching the National Security Act, which blocks access to the North’s government websites and media, and bars efforts at “praising, inciting or propagating” its activities.

The neighbouring countries are still technically at war since an armistice put an end to fighting in the 1950-1953 Korean War, rather than a peace treaty.

An official at the Seoul Central District Court declined to provide details on the case.

The man was accused of accessing Uriminzokkiri – a North Korean state-controlled website – and submitting a poem in 2016 praising a North Korea-led unification.

He claimed there would be no issue with housing and employment under the North Korean-style socialist system, the report said.

The man had previously been indicted for breaching the national security law on a separate occasion.

South Korea’s top court earlier this year ruled the security law constitutional despite growing calls in recent years for the law to be reviewed on the grounds of free speech.

(Reporting by Hyunsu Yim; Editing by Bernadette Baum)