South Korea's Constitutional Court reaffirmed on Tuesday the constitutionality of Article 7-1 of the National Security Law, which imposes a maximum seven-year sentence for praising or promoting North Korea and those who support such activities. The Court also reiterated its prior ruling on the constitutionality of Article 7-5, which penalizes the creation, distribution, or possession of materials that endorse or propagate North Korea.
The court ruling followed a constitutional appeal by a South Korean citizen named Seo, among others, who challenged the constitutionality of Articles 7-1 and 7-5. Six of the nine constitutional court judges maintained that these articles do not violate freedom of expression. In comparison, the remaining three judges submitted a minority judgment, arguing that the articles restrict the formation of conscience and thoughts by penalizing cases without concrete risks of causing actual harm.
Article 7-5, which penalizes the production, transport, or distribution of anti-state materials, was ruled constitutional by a vote of six to three. Regarding the penalization of possession or acquisition of such materials, the ruling was upheld as constitutional but divided, with four judges affirming its constitutionality and the remainder disagreeing. To deem an item unconstitutional, it requires the consensus of six out of the nine constitutional court judges. This marks the eighth consecutive reaffirmation of the court's stance on the constitutionality of Article 7 of the National Security Law since 1990.
Dong-Joo Cho email@example.com