Incheon District Court on Thursday sentenced a Syrian to three years in jail for violating the anti-terrorism law. The defendant was found guilty of inciting people to join the Islamic State group.
The 33-year-old Syrian, who worked at a junkyard in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, entered Korea 10 years ago and applied for asylum. Although the asylum bid was rejected, the Syrian was granted a humanitarian stay permit and traveled between Korea and Syria.
According to the court, the Syrian uploaded videos and posts of IS on social media accounts, as well as a Telegram link that directly connects people to a secret chat room with IS members. The Facebook account of the Syrian had once been disabled due to its terrorism-related content.
The court said the Syrian also had IS member commandments, posters of IS and a list of names of Europeans who joined the group on a phone.
“Korea granted humanitarian benefits to the defendant, but the person repaid by inciting terrorism,” the Incheon Court said.
“If the court does not punish the defendant, it could create an atmosphere to foster terrorists (in the country.) Also, it could be against public sentiment.”
The court, however, acquitted the defendant of the charge of recommending an Iraqi to join a terrorist group due to a lack of evidence.
The defendant understood the court’s ruling but will appeal.
The case marks the first court ruling on violation of the anti-terrorism law since it was enacted in 2016. Under the law, a person who joins a terrorist group or incites people to become members of the group could face up to five years in prison.
By Park Ju-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)