Four-year prison term sought for ex-spymaster in election meddling

SEOUL, July 14 (Yonhap) -- Prosecutors on Monday sought a four-year prison term for the former chief of the state intelligence agency charged with meddling in the 2012 presidential election.

Won Sei-hoon, the former director of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), is currently standing trial on charges of launching an online smear campaign to sway public opinion in favor of President Park Geun-hye, the then ruling party candidate, ahead of the Dec. 19 poll.

Prosecutors also demanded that Won's rights, such as suffrage, be stripped for four years following his release from prison.

"It is an unconstitutional act for an NIS director to manipulate public opinion by disguising himself as the general public," prosecutors said during a hearing on Won's case at the Seoul Central District Court.

Won was charged with ordering his agents to launch the online campaign by not only posting comments on major Internet bulletin boards but also on Twitter and other social networking sites. Altogether, 1,157 such messages have been found posted on the Internet while nearly 780,000 postings were tweeted.

Won is already behind bars after receiving a two-year prison term for accepting kickbacks from a businessman while in office.

Won served as first vice mayor of Seoul when former President Lee Myung-bak was mayor. He was also minister of public administration and security under the Lee administration.

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