You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

South Korean lawmakers back arrest of colleague on treason charges

SEOUL — The National Assembly of South Korea on Wednesday voted to allow the arrest of an opposition lawmaker on charges of plotting treason in a case that rekindled fears not only of a pro-North Korean rebellion but also about the actions of a powerful intelligence agency that has been long accused of meddling in domestic politics under the pretext of hunting Communists.

The lawmaker, Lee Seok-ki, a member of the minor United Progressive Party, was accused of gathering 130 followers, some of them drunk and with small children, in two secret late-night meetings in May to plot an armed rebellion in support of the North in case of war. North Korea had heightened military tensions earlier this year by declaring that it would no longer honor the 60-year-old cease-fire that halted the Korean War in 1953.

Continue reading below

In one of the meetings, which lasted till 2 a.m. on May 13 at a religious retreat in Seoul, Lee, 51, said that war could be imminent on the divided Korean Peninsula and that his followers should prepare themselves for a “revolution” against “the world’s most powerful American imperialists” and achieve “a new reunified fatherland,” according to the National Intelligence Service’s charges against him.

“Lee Seok-ki is an enemy of South Korea,” said Kim Jin-tae, a lawmaker from the governing Saenuri Party, calling on fellow legislators to support a bill authorizing the arrest of Lee on Wednesday.

“This is a medieval witch hunt,” Lee told the Assembly, denying hatching a plot to overthrow the South Korean government through an armed rebellion and accusing the intelligence agency of “mobilizing conservative news media” to discredit him and his party.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.