Appeals court upholds 3 1/2-year prison term for N.K. defector over spy activities

SUWON, South Korea-- An appeals court upheld a 3 1/2-year prison term for a North Korean defector charged with spying for Pyongyang, court officials said Friday.

The defector, whose identity was not made public, was indicted on charges of meeting with a North Korean official after traveling to a border region between China and the North in May 2018 at the request of his brother staying in the North.

During the meeting, the defector allegedly accepted a request from the official to collect and deliver information on brokers helping North Koreans flee their country and those who leak information on the North's military to the South.

Since then, the defector was found to have shared information about other defectors living in Seoul and their families remaining in the North on multiple occasions.

After the lower court convicted him of violating the National Security Act, he appealed the ruling, claiming information on North Korean defectors is not a state secret.

But the Suwon High court rejected the appeal, saying the information is undisclosed to the public and can be used for propaganda by Pyongyang and pose a risk to South Korea's security.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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