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Leading anti-U.S. activist arrested

All Headlines 11:46 August 17, 2010

SEOUL, Aug. 17 (Yonhap) -- A leading South Korean activist has been arrested and indicted on charges of masterminding various anti-American rallies in violation of the anti-communist National Security Law after being recruited by North Korean agents, prosecutors said Tuesday.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office said it has arrested Han Choong-mok, 53, for allegedly leading a dozen outdoor rallies calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops in South Korea, the removal of the statue of U.S. general and Korean War hero Douglas MacArthur and the abolition of the National Security Law.

Han is also accused of receiving instructions from North Korean agents he met in Beijing and North Korea between 2004 and 2007, prosecutors said.

Han, a co-leader of the leftist Korea Alliance of Progressive Movements, along with Rev. Han Sang-ryol, who has been on an unauthorized trip to North Korea since June 12, is also suspected of making and distributing reports in favor of Pyongyang's nuclear tests and missile launches and the communist propaganda, prosecutors said.

Rev. Han, who is scheduled to return home on Aug. 20, faces arrest and criminal charges for his unauthorized trip to North Korea as well as for his public speeches in the North denouncing South Korea's government and president.

Under the National Security Law, South Koreans are banned from visiting the North without prior government approval or prohibited from distributing publications sympathetic to the communist state.

The two Koreas remain technically at war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce. About 28,500 American troops are currently stationed in South Korea to deter threats from the North.

ejkim@yna.co.kr
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