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Ruling on Uri Lawmaker Lee Chul-woo, an Alleged Member of the North Korea Workers’ Party

Ruling on Uri Lawmaker Lee Chul-woo, an Alleged Member of the North Korea Workers’ Party

Posted December. 09, 2004 22:29,   


Tensions are mounting in political circles as the ruling and opposition camps are fiercely confronting each other over the speculation that Uri lawmaker Lee Chul-woo was a member of the North Korea’s Workers’ Party.

The ruling Uri Party convened an urgent joint conference between the Standing Central Committee and the Advisory Policy Planning Committee on December 9 and decided to file a complaint against the opposition GNP lawmakers Choo Sung-young, Park Seung-hwan, and Kim Ki-hyun with the National Assembly’s Ethics Committee to expel them from parliament. In addition, they agreed to take legal steps, including filing civil and criminal lawsuits against the three GNP lawmakers, while taking legal action to the Future Korea Weekly, a local weekly paper which ran an article on suspicions over Rep. Lee’s membership in the North Korea Workers’ Party.

Uri lawmakers on that day organized a protest in front of the National Assembly, urging GNP Chairwoman Park Geun-hye to apologize and GNP lawmakers making remarks on Lee to resign.

The GNP, for its part, strongly demanded the authorities get to the bottom of the truth regarding the suspicion. Rep. Lee Byung-seok, head of the GNP truth committee, said in a press conference on the same day that Lee failed to offer a truthful and sufficient explanation on the suspicion. He also sent a four-point open question to Lee.

Meanwhile, according to the ruling of the first hearing by Division 21 of the Seoul Criminal District Court, Representative Lee had a joining ceremony on April 18, 1992 at a house in Mangwoo-dong, Chungrang-gu, Seoul, persuaded by a man identified as his family name, Yang. Yang is known as the leader of the Gangwon province branch of the National Democratic Front of South Korea, or Hanminjeon, a propaganda organization of the North Korea’s Workers’ Party acting in South Korea.

The ruling describes that Rep. Lee hung the flag of the North Korean party on the wall and swore his allegiance looking at the portrait of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Lee was given a pseudonym, “Kang Jae Soo” and a membership number “Daedunsan 820” at the ceremony. Afterwards, he, together with Yang, participated in a joining ceremony of two other members, including a man identified as another Lee, to the National Liberalization Patriotic Front, or Minaejeon, and the launching ceremony of the Unification Patriotic Front in June 1992, according to the ruling.

Rep. Lee was found guilty in an appeal trial on July 8, 1993 by the third division of the Seoul High Court for anti-state activities according to the National Security Law. Therefore, he was sentenced to four years in jail and four years of suspension, and also confiscated the flag of the North Korean party and portraits of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Lawyer Kim Sun-joong, an associate judge at the court ruling, said, “As you might find out, the court upheld the guilty ruling of the first hearing and only accepted an appeal by Lee about the sentencing”.

It was confirmed on December 9 that Hwang In-oh, who was arrested and who was known as a person in charge of South Korea branch of the North Korean Party and arrested during an investigation in the past, said in a journal he kept in jail that Minaejeon is another name of the South Korea branch of the Workers’ Party.

Ji-Seong Jeon verso@donga.com