SKorea lowers activist's sentence over NKorea trip

AP News
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Posted: Jun 30, 2011 3:58 AM
SKorea lowers activist's sentence over NKorea trip

An appellate court has reduced the sentence of a South Korean pastor who made an unauthorized visit to North Korea.

The court cited the Rev. Han Sang-ryol's past efforts to ease tension on the peninsula.

A district court earlier sentenced Han to five years in prison for illegally entering North Korea last year and praising the communist country. Both Han and prosecutors appealed.

The Seoul High Court says it reduced Han's sentence to three years on Wednesday because he has supported North Korea exchange programs and civic movements seeking unification.

Han and prosecutors have one week to appeal the verdict to the Supreme Court.

South Korea's National Security Law bans citizens from entering North Korea without government permission.