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Man indicted for pro-NK postings on Twitter

Prosecutors pressed charges on Monday against a South Korean man accused of posting Internet messages praising North Korea in what is possibly the first occurrence of such postings through social networking sites.

   The 54-year-old man under arrest, identified only by his last name Cho, is suspected of posting about 100 counts of online messages and video clips from 2009 to October of last year on his Internet blog and other Web sites praising Pyongyang and the power succession to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's youngest son, Kim Jong-un, prosecutors said.

   Cho also used Twitter to distribute his messages and retweet contents from North Korea's official Web site, Uriminzokkiri, to about 3,000 followers, officials said. Some of his postings accused Seoul and Washington of fabricating the March sinking of a South Korean warship and blaming it on the North. Other postings claimed a South Korean military drill provoked the North to shell Yeonpyeong island in November in an attack that killed four people.

   South Korea's National Security Law strictly prohibits distribution of publications praising the North or activities sympathetic to the communist state.

   "This is the first time that the investigation discovered that social networking sites were used as means to spread contents benefiting enemies," an official at the Seoul Central Prosecutors' Office said.

   South Korea is technically in a state of war with North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, rather than a peace treaty. (Yonhap News)

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