A man in his 60s has been sentenced to a 14-month jail term for praising the North Korean regime in an award-winning poem published on the North Korean state-run news site Uriminzokkiri.
The Seoul Central District Court on Monday found the 68-year-old South Korean guilty of violating the National Security Act when he submitted an anti-state poetry piece to the North Korean mouthpiece in September 2016.
The court sentenced him to 14 months in prison and imposed a one-year suspension of qualifications affecting both suffrage and eligibility for specific legally described professions and status.
Titled "Means of Unification," the piece extols the benefits of unification under the North’s socialist regime, including the provision of free housing, education, health care and employment. The writer also underscored the potential reduction in suicide rates in a unified country.
In November 2016, he was recognized as a winner in the competition and is known to have shared the poem on a South Korean online community.
In 2013, he left comments praising North Korea on news related to North Korean soldiers, while posting anti-state content on South Korean websites and blogs from 2014 to 2017.
His record shows that he has received a total of 10 months in prison in the past for similar violations.
In its ruling on Monday, the Seoul court highlighted that the defendant continued to generate and disseminate a considerable amount of propaganda that glorified and praised the North. This took place within three years of completing his previous sentence, making him a repeat offender.