Agents from South Korea’s National Intelligence Service arrested Lee, chief editor of the monthly Jajuminbo, and Park and Baek, both reporters for the magazine. The journalists were charged with violating South Korea’s National Security Law, which has been used to punish those who publish or broadcast views deemed anti-state, especially material seen as supportive of North Korea or of communism generally.
Jajuminbo, which also produces an online publication at www.jajuminbo.com, is a small-circulation, private magazine that promotes the reunification of North and South Korea.
During the trial, prosecutors accused Jajuminbo of publishing articles that promoted North Korea’s vision of reunification. The three journalists were also accused of maintaining contact with “pro-North Korean” activists in Japan.
The district attorney asked that each of the journalists be sentenced to four years in prison. The court was scheduled to announce its verdict on February 9, 2002. As this book went to press, all three journalists were being held at the Seoul Detention Center.