Protest organizer gets suspended sentence
November 16, 2003
SEOUL — A 27-year-old South Korean student pegged as the ringleader for a raid on a U.S. military training range north of Seoul was sentenced to a suspended three-year prison term, Yonhap news agency reported Thursday.
The student, identified only as Kim, allegedly coordinated an Aug. 7 dash past security guards into Rodriguez Range, about 30 miles from Seoul in Pochon-gun. Soldiers were conducting a live-fire exercise for the Army’s new Stryker armored personnel carrier.
Kim’s sentence was the lightest of the charged protesters. In early October, Seoul’s District Court handed down 13 prison terms ranging from 18 to 30 months.
The protesters are believed to belong to Hanchongryun, an outlawed student protest group that seeks the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from South Korea, according to local news reports. The group tends to favor North Korea and inter-Korean reconciliation, seeing the U.S. presence as impeding unification.
U.S. Forces Korea declined a specific comment Friday, but stood by former statements saying they appreciated the prosecution of illegal entrants.