image of Lee Seok-ki laughing and clapping

Photo by the Save Lee Seok-ki Committee.
[Image description: Lee Seok-ki in a black jacket and white shirt laughing and clapping. Text: 9 years’ imprisonment on charges of insurrection provocation and violation of the article 7 in the National Security Law. 19th National Assembly member of the Unificated Progressive Party]


December 24, 2021

On December 24, 2021, Lee Seok-ki was released from prison on parole after serving 8 years and 3 months of a 9 year sentence. Lee, a former member of south Korea’s National Assembly, was imprisoned in 2014 on trumped up charges of “inciting treason” under the National Security Law. Lee’s conviction was part of the National Intelligence Service’s (NIS) campaign against the Unified Progresive Party (UPP), the main opposition party at the time and a threat to Park Geun Hye’s presidential campaign. The fabricated NIS case against Lee was a pretext to disband the UPP, which was a major blow for south Korea’s movements for peace and social justice.

While we welcome Lee’s release, we condemn the fact that it is a parole and not a full pardon. What’s more, we condemn the fact that disgraced former president Park Geun-hye was pardoned by President Moon Jae-In on the same day. The hypocrisy is staggering and only confirms that the change in regime from Park Geun-hye to Moon Jae-in was never going to bring about any true political change. Just as Kim Dae-Jung sold out the democracy movement by pardoning Chun Doo Hwan and Roh Tae Woo, and Roh Moo-hyun joined the US invasion of Iraq, Moon Jae-In has inevitably betrayed the Candlelight Movement that put him in power. What more evidence is needed that liberal presidencies in South Korea are not interested in undoing the harms caused by previous administrations but only in serving established systems of power?

The draconian National Security Law regime, established in 1948 under the US-installed fascist Rhee Syngman, has been and continues to be a barrier to people power and true justice. It also blocks efforts at establishing peace with north Korea, serving US interests on the peninsula.

Nodutdol supports true social change and justice. Accordingly, we demand that the National Security Law be abolished, especially Article 7. We demand that Lee Seok-ki and all political prisoners be pardoned immediately. Toojeng!