Amnesty International is urging South Korea to release a man they have in custody. And his crime? Retweeting their Northern enemy.
Tension between North and South Korea has always been thick, and now it’s spilling over to Twitter.
As the AFP reports, Socialist Party activist Park Jeong-Geun was arrested in January for retweeting messages from the official government Twitter account for North Korea, including a tweet that read “Long Live General Kim Jong-Il.”
He has been behind bars since January 11th, and faces up to 7 years in prison for his crime, which falls under the very strict National Security Law.
In his defense, Jeong-Geun claims that he was being sarcastic in his retweets, meaning to ridicule the North rather than support it.
Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific director, Sam Zarifi, has this to say about the situation:
“This is not a national security case, it’s a sad case of the South Korean authorities’ complete failure to understand sarcasm. Imprisoning anyone for peaceful expression of their opinions violates international law but in this case, the charges against Park Jeong-Geun are simply ludicrous and should be dropped immediately.”
This is not the first time a South Korean national has been charged with supporting the North through Twitter. One year ago, a man known only by his last name, Cho, was indicted on charges of publicly praising North Korea on Twitter – the first indictment of its kind, but one that’s obviously sparked a trend.