Published : 2013-08-30 15:36
Updated : 2013-08-30 15:36
The Suwon District Court on Friday issued the warrant to detain leftist lawmaker Lee Seok-ki in the burgeoning probe on him and his associates charged with plotting an armed revolt.
Following the court’s decision, the prosecutors will be seeking for parliamentary consent to detain Lee of the Unified Progressive Party through the Justice Ministry, which will first seek approval from the Cabinet meeting and President Park Geun-hye in the next several days.
Observers said the process will take around one week, leaving the political parties the hefty task of positioning their stances and gathering for the vote in the unprecedented investigation into an incumbent lawmaker on charges of plotting to overthrow the government.
Once the motion for detainment is submitted to the National Assembly’s plenary session, the members must vote on it after 24 hours and within 72 hours. If the majority of the attending lawmakers approve the detainment, Lee will be obliged to appear before the court for review of his arrest.
Earlier in the day, the NIS wrapped up its raid on the office of Lee after gathering evidence for a second day.
The UPP scandal broke on Wednesday when NIS agents raided the homes and offices of Lee and nine other UPP members on suspicion of plotting a rebellion via secret organization operation.
Controversy escalated upon the release by some local media of the alleged transcript of clandestine meetings of the “revolutionary organization,” an underground leftist group allegedly led by Lee.
The reports said Lee and three other associates were heard sharing the need to prepare for a “political and military” war in response to a possible contingency on the peninsula.
The reports also claimed the group discussed details of how to make preparations to strike the South Korean government and the U.S. military, such as by incapacitating Internet networks and infrastructure for oil and gas supplies and other major logistical facilities in the Seoul area, in case of another war.
Debate is also rampant over whether the suspicions against Lee are chargeable. Legal experts said it would be important to secure substantive personal or material evidences to prove Lee’s connection or direct contact with North Korea.
The UPP rebuked the reports, saying that the transcripts were warped “to the point of fabrication.”
“The NIS presented the transcripts of a meeting of a UPP regional chapter where Lee was invited as a lecturer,” UPP spokesman Hong Sung-kyu said.
“The NIS took issue with the remarks by some of the participants there and did not present any piece of evidence whatsoever for the charges of conspiring a rebellion,” Hong told reporters.
He said the party will take legal measures against the NIS and the media for leaking and publicizing the suspicions.
The NIS has reportedly been conducting wide-ranging surveillance of the revolutionary organization’s activities since 2010 with search and arrest warrants it has secured from the judiciary.
To back up its charges, the NIS has also been tracking bank records of Lee and his close associates to see if they had any links with North Korea. It is also looking into the possibility that some of the organization’s members contacted North Korean officials in China.
By Song Sang-ho (firstname.lastname@example.org)