Honorable Justices of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Korea,
I stand with conscientious people around the world to call for the immediate acquittal and release of Representative Lee Seok-ki and his co-defendants.
Earlier this year, the Seoul High Court found Representative Lee and his co-defendants not guilty of the highest and most controversial charge of conspiring an insurrection. It also noted that Representative Lee's May 2013 lecture - which the Park Geun-hye government had alleged was an incitement for insurrection - did not lead to any known insurrection plots. Furthermore, the prosecution in the first trial failed to produce any evidence to substantiate the government's charge that the defendants have ties to North Korea.
Representative Lee Seok-ki and his co-defendants still remain behind bars, however, on lesser charges, including violation of the National Security Law. A 90-minute lecture was the alleged crime that put Representative Lee in jail for nine years. This is in clear violation of his right to freedom of expression.
International human rights groups have repeatedly called on the South Korean government to abolish the National Security Law, which is in direct breach of Article 19 of the International Covenants on Human Rights on freedom of expression.
South Korea is a member country of the UN Human Rights Council, which requires all member countries to uphold the highest human rights standards.
It is my hope that South Korea will abide by its responsibilities, stop wielding the National Security Law to silence political opposition, and allow freedom of expression to flourish.
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