SEOUL — A South Korean court Tuesday upheld the 30-month sentence of an American soldier convicted earlier this year of attempted murder.

The Seoul High Court rejected an appeal by Pfc. John C. Humphreys, who was convicted in September of stabbing a South Korean man during an alcohol-related argument. Humphreys, of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment, was tried in a South Korean court under provisions of the status of forces agreement between the United States and South Korea.

The three-judge panel rejected his plea for a reduced sentence; prosecutors had sought a five-year sentence during the trial. Under South Korean law, both the prosecution and defense can appeal a sentence or a verdict.

At the trial, prosecutors said Humphreys stabbed a 27-year- old South Korean man who was trying to intervene in a drunken disturbance early on the morning of May 15.

Humphreys pleaded self-defense to the charges.

During two days of testimony, prosecutors questioned two U.S. soldiers, a South Korean soldier attached to a U.S. Army unit and two South Korean civilians who witnessed the incident.

Humphreys, 21, was arrested by South Korean police and turned over to his unit during the investigation. Once charged, Humphreys became only the second U.S. soldier handed over to South Korean officials for pre-trial confinement.

Under 2001 revisions of the U.S.-South Korean status of forces agreement, U.S. soldiers now can be held before a trial if charged with any of a dozen serious crimes, including attempted murder.

After the stabbing, 8th Army officials expressed regret for the incident and promised full cooperation. Police officials said four other U.S. soldiers and a South Korean soldier assigned to a U.S. Army unit also were investigated in the case. No further charges were filed.

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