Military prosecutors have indicted an Army captain who used foul language to criticize President Lee Myung-bak on Twitter.
According to military law, those who publicly insult their seniors are subject to imprisonment of up to three years.
The officer, whose name was withheld, denounced the president for alleged corruption, a government plan to privatize Incheon International Airport and KTX services and a canceled plan to build his private retirement home on the outskirts of Seoul.
The officer was indicted twice on March 22 and April 26.
He also condemned the controversial construction of a naval base on Jeju Island. The Navy proceeded with the plan despite protests from left-wing politicians, environmentalists and some residents.
The Defense Security Command received a report about the insult in March from a female university student with whom the officer had a quarrel online.
The command later found the foul language he used, along with “2MB,” which refers to Lee’s initials, but can also be interpreted as a derogatory reference to his intelligence.
The officer’s lawyer said the criticism is toward Lee as the administrative leader not as the commander-in-chief, and the captain made the remarks as a Korean citizen, not as a serviceman
The Defense Ministry noted in the 2009 revision to the military code of conduct that the term senior includes the president, and servicemen should not insult their seniors online.
A police officer in February was punished after he posted a text message sent to Lee on his Facebook page. In the message, he said that the president had given too much authority to prosecutors, saying he was going to judge Lee at the ballot box.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org