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Two lawmakers lose seats as top court confirms prison terms

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Published : 2014-06-12 15:45
Updated : 2014-06-12 15:45

Two opposition lawmakers lost their parliamentary seats as the top court on Thursday confirmed their suspended jail terms in criminal cases.

Rep. Bae Ki-woon of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy was sentenced to six months in prison with a two-year stay by the Supreme Court for violating the Public Official Election Act.

Bae was convicted of bribing his accountant, identified only by his surname Kim, in February 2012 in exchange for spending election expenses that exceeded the legal threshold.

"The court agrees with rulings by lower courts that (Bae) gave money to Kim in connection with campaign activities," the Supreme Court said in its ruling.

Under the act, a confirmed prison term or a fine of more than 1 million won (US$983) handed down to a lawmaker results in the loss of his or her parliamentary seat.

In a separate case, the top court sentenced Rep. Kim Sun-dong of the minor opposition Unified Progressive Party to one year in jail with a two-year stay for detonating a tear gas shell in the National Assembly's main chamber, upholding lower courts' rulings.

He used the tear gas to block the ruling party's unilateral move to put the long-pending free trade agreement with the United States to a floor vote during a parliamentary session in November 2011.

Despite his violent attempt to block the vote, the bill passed with a majority, mostly due to support by ruling party lawmakers. (Yonhap)

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