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2 Civic Activists Get 8 Years for Threatening Witness

Posted July. 15, 2009 08:21,   


Two civic activists were sentenced to eight years in prison yesterday for threatening and using violence against a witness who testified on behalf of companies advertising in three major dailies.

The verdict came in the first trial on threats made against companies who carried ads in The Dong-A Ilbo, The Chosun Ilbo and The JoongAng Ilbo in November last year.

The Seoul Central District Court handed down the ruling on a 56-year-old man and his 42-year-old accomplice, both whom belong to the National Campaign for Media Consumers’ Rights.

The two were convicted of threatening a tourist agency employee, who waited outside the courtroom to attend the first trial as a witness. The employee was going to testify against 24 Internet users who allegedly threatened companies against running ads in the three dailies.

The two men are also known to have pressed the employee’s neck with their elbows.

He said, “I cannot testify because I feel threatened” and named the two men.

The ruling said, “The victim contracted a sleep disorder and suffered extreme stress because of the attacks and blackmail by the civic group members.”

"Though (the two defendants) did not commit their crime premediated or hurt the victim severely, the fact that they threatened a witness for the purpose of retaliation is especially bad because it undermines the right to give free testimony.”