Opposition lawmaker indicted over treason conspiracy

SUWON, South Korea, Sept. 26 (Yonhap) -- A left-leaning party lawmaker was indicted Thursday for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government, prosecutors said.

Rep. Lee Seok-ki of the Unified Progressive Party (UPP) was specifically charged with conspiracy to stage a rebellion, incitement and sympathizing with North Korea in violation of the South's anti-communist National Security Law, they said.

Lee is suspected of leading a secret organization called the Revolutionary Organization (RO) with suspected close ties to North Korea, according to prosecutors.

He allegedly talked during a late-night secret meeting in central Seoul in May with about 130 other members of the organization about blowing up key infrastructure in South Korea, including communication lines and railways, and pledged to side with the North in case of a war on the Korean Peninsula.

The lawmaker also made remarks sympathetic of North Korea and sang its military march songs before hundreds of members who attended the organization's meetings held between March and August last year, according to the indictment.

"Armed with North Korea's ruling ideology of Juche (Self-reliance) and the country's reunification policy toward the South, the RO members discussed in detail about how to strike key infrastructure in the country such as communication lines and railways after their leader Lee made a speech that they should be physically and technically ready for a war on the peninsula," Kim Soo-nam, chief of the Suwon District Prosecutors' Office, told reporters.

He spoke of the May meeting during a press conference to announce the interim result of the prosecution probe into the case.

"Seen from the fact that the accused suggested learning from some websites to make guns and bombs as a way of carrying out their plan to strike key national infrastructure, we can say that the viability and dangerousness of their behavior are very high," Kim said.

The members' pursuit of social chaos with the aim of communizing South Korea "clearly constitutes a crime of conspiracy to commit treason and incitement," he stressed.

But Lee was cleared of several other charges, including formation of an anti-state organization, prosecutors said.

Three other key members of the organization were also indicted on Wednesday on similar charges.

The four were arrested after the state-run National Intelligence Service (NIS) and the prosecution raided the homes and offices of a total of 16 people suspected of connection with the clandestine organization, as part of their investigation into the treason case.

More members are expected to be charged as soon as prosecutors finish questioning them.

"We will throughly investigate those involved in the treason conspiracy and strictly deal with those responsible according to the law and principles," Kim said.

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