The National Assembly is expected to handle the court's request to arrest Rep. Lee Seok-ki, who has been accused of conspiring to start an armed rebellion, next week, insiders said Saturday.
Lee and some members of the Unified Progressive Party have been accused by the National Intelligence Service of planning an armed revolt if war breaks out with North Korea. The country's spy agency said the people under investigation hatched a plot to attack key infrastructure in the South to aid the North during conflict. It released a transcript of a meeting held in May where this rebellion plot was discussed, causing an uproar in the country. Besides Lee, three UPP members have already been detained by authorities.
Sources familiar with due process said the request to arrest the lawmaker, which was issued by a court in Suwon, south of Seoul, is currently at the Office of the Prime Minister. They said once the president approves the request it will be forwarded to lawmakers for deliberation by the Ministry of Justice.
|Rep. Lee Seok-ki shows up at his office for an emergency press meeting on Saturday.|
Under existing rules a motion to arrest a sitting member of parliament, who cannot be detained while parliament is in session, must be reported at the earliest plenary meeting.
"Parliament is in a short recess and opens Monday morning so it will likely be the first agenda at the plenary session planned for the afternoon," said an official at parliament who declined to be identified.
From that point on the Speaker must put the matter to a vote within 72 hours, after waiting a day. It will be passed if half of the 300 members are present and half of those favor the motion.
Once this process is completed the court can issue a detention warrant to make it possible to question Lee.
Related to the upcoming parliamentary process, Rep. Choi Kyung-hwan, the floor leader of the ruling Saenuri Party, said he will push for the plenary session to be convened on Wednesday or Thursday just to handle the court's request.
He made the proposal because lawmakers are at odds over various issues involving allegations that the NIS meddled in last year's presidential election. Saenuri and the main opposition Democratic Party also have different views on the budget.
Others in the ruling camp said due to the seriousness of the charges levied against Lee, they expected the DP to pass the court request. (Yonhap)