S Korean pastor in police custody after unauthorized visit to DPRK

16:34, August 20, 2010      

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A South Korean pastor was in police custody upon arriving in South Korea Friday after his unauthorized visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Rev. Han Sang-ryol, who returned home by walking through a truce village of Panmunjom, is charged with violating domestic laws that ban activities benefiting Pyongyang and restrict unapproved contacts with it. Pyongyang and Seoul still remain technically at war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended with a truce instead of a formal peace treaty.

Han, an advocate of the reunification, went to the DPRK on June 12 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the historic June 15 joint declaration by South Korea's then President Kim Dae-jung and his DPRK counterpart Kim Jong-il.

During his 70-day stay, the pastor reportedly made speeches criticizing the South Korean government for driving the inter- Korean relations to an impasse and praising the DPRK. He also met with Kim Young-nam, the DPRK's titular head of state.

The Korea Alliance of Progressive Movements, where Han serves as a senior advisor, released a statement demanding his immediate release.

Source: Xinhua


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