• Kyodo News


The Seoul High Court has decided to reopen the case of a Korean resident of Saitama Prefecture who was convicted in South Korea in the late 1970s of spying for North Korea, the man involved has said.

Kim Jong Sa, a 55-year-old man who lives in Chichibu, is certain to be acquitted in the retrial, which formed part of the legal basis for the 1980 death sentence handed to Kim Dae Jung, a prodemocracy leader who became South Korea’s president from 1998 to 2003.

Since it is suspected the spying charge against Kim Jong Sa was fabricated to ensnare Kim Dae Jung, the retrial could reveal the whole picture of events.

Kim Jong Sa, who was born in Japan, was detained by the South Korean military’s Defense Security Command in 1977 while studying at Seoul National University.

He was found guilty of conducting espionage in South Korea on the instruction of a North Korean agent in Japan. He was released on parole in 1979.

During his trial, South Korea’s Supreme Court determined in 1978 that the agent was a member of a group of South Koreans living in Japan who were opposed to the administration of Park Chung Hee.

A South Korean military court then found Kim Dae Jung to be the chairman of the group, although he denied it.

“I want to expose the truth about my wrongful conviction in the retrial not just for my own honor but to correct modern South Korean history,” Kim Jong Sa said.

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