Ex-opposition party official quizzed over NIS election scandal

SEOUL, July 1 (Yonhap) -- Prosecutors said Monday they were questioning a former opposition party official to determine whether he unlawfully kept a government intelligence agent from leaving her house while trying to obtain evidence that she meddled in last year's presidential election.

The National Intelligence Service (NIS) has been under investigation by prosecutors for allegedly mobilizing its agents for an online smear campaign against Moon Jae-in, the opposition candidate of the Dec. 19 election, to sway public opinion ahead of the election.

After being emerged as a suspect, the female agent, surnamed Kim, locked herself in her apartment in southern Seoul for two days when a large number of reporters, the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) officials and police officers camped outside her home.

Kim let herself out of her home on Dec. 13 after deciding to hand over her computer hard drives to police officers.

Kim and the ruling Saenuri Party soon filed legal complaints against DP officials, arguing that they had violated her human rights by not allowing her to leave the apartment.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office said it has arrested a former official of the DP, surnamed Cheong, on Sunday.

"We arrested Cheong as he has repeatedly disobeyed the summons," a prosecution official close to the investigation said, adding that a decision regarding whether to indict him will be determined depending on the results of Monday's questioning.

Last month, prosecutors indicted the then NIS chief, Won Sei-hoon, on charges of meddling in last year's presidential election with the online campaign.

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