A man indicted on charges of espionage had been pressured by authorities to give false testimony, lawyers representing him said Thursday.
In a press conference held earlier in the day, an organization called Minbyun, or Lawyers for a Democratic Society in English, said the 40-year-old suspect, identified only by his family name of Hong, is not a North Korean spy.
"We were given our first access to Hong only today and he told us that he lied when questioned by investigators led by the National Intelligence Service," a spokesperson for the progressive lawyers group said.
Minbyun added that state prosecutors also pressured the accused, which is in violation of the country's criminal procedure law.
It said attorneys representing Hong refuted all charges laid against the man.
State prosecutors claimed Hong belonged to the Defense Security Command of the Korean People's Army, and tried to kidnap a broker who helped North Koreans escape the communist country. They also said Hong spied on the activities of defectors living in South Korea. (Yonhap)