The nation’s top court upheld a ruling by an appeals court to acquit a Korean-Japanese man accused of espionage for a pro-North Korean organization.
The 63-year-old defendant, only identified by his last name Park, was indicted in 1982 on charges of working as a spy at the behest of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan.
“There’s lack of evidence proving his spying activities. (The appeals court) has made the right decision based on legal principles,” the presiding chief justice, Kim Chang-seok, said in his ruling on Feb. 13.
Park was initially sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1983, but the Seoul Central District Court decided to hold a retrial last year.
Both the district court and Seoul High Court acquitted Park, saying the defendant was forced to write his testimony while under duress and thus it is inadmissible.
Park, who was born to Korean parents in Japan, arrived in South Korea in 1973 to study at Seoul National University.
Court records show that the Defense Security Command illegally detained and tortured the defendant. They forced him to write a false testimony admitting to the spy activities, which violate Seoul’s National Security Law.
Investigators had claimed that Park listened to North Korean radio, orchestrated anti-government protests, and handed over information on South Korean politics, economy and military.
By Suk Gee-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)