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Robert Kim`s Request to Visit South Korea Rejected by U.S. Court

Robert Kim`s Request to Visit South Korea Rejected by U.S. Court

Posted January. 28, 2005 22:45,   


Robert Kim, who served a 7 and a half year jail term for leaking classified U.S. government information, requested temporary parole to visit South Korea but was rejected by the regional district court.

According to an acquaintance, the Virginia East District Court, on the afternoon of January 27, notified its rejection of Mr. Kim`s request for travel to South Korea, filed at the end of December last year.

The court said that it rejected the petition because people under U.S authorities’ surveillance are generally not allowed to travel abroad; the destination is South Korea, which was involved in the espionage case; and Mr. Kim currently has no imminent need to visit the country.

The U.S Justice Department, before the notice, demanded the court not to grant Mr. Kim`s travel request.

Mr. Kim requested the grant to visit his parent`s tomb located in Yeosu, Jeonnam Province. His father died in February last year, followed by his mother in April, while he was serving his jail term.

He expressed his feeling in a letter faxed to Lee Ung-jin, the former representative of Mr. Kim`s supporter organization, saying, "I was very much disappointed, but I humbly accept the court`s decision. The tragic situation surrounding me is the byproduct of the country`s division. My home country, South Korea, has always been in my heart."

Released from prison in July last year, he is currently under a 30-month surveillance that limits his travel within certain parts of Virginia.

Mr. Kim was arrested for handing over about 30 classified documents to an official of the South Korean Embassy in the U.S. in 1996, while he was working as an information analyst at the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI).

Soon-Taek Kwon maypole@donga.com