Seoul shuns plea for dissident
Seoul — South Korean military prosecutors ignred pleas for leniency from the United States and Japan Thursday and demanded that former presidential candidate Kim Dae Jung be sentenced to death on charges he plotted a violent overthrow of the government. At the same time, authorities said the National Assembly, suspended since Mr. Kim's arrest in an expanded martial law crackdown May 17, will reopen Sept. 20.
The prosecutors also demanded jail terms ranging from 3 to 20 years against 23 other dissidents jointly accused with Mr. Kim. The defendants include four university professors, six students, four former members of the National Assembly, and two clergymen.
The prosecution said Mr. Kim and his followers had plotted uprisings because they believed the former presidential candidate had no chance of taking power through elections.
The political dissidents have denied nearly all the charges, saying they never intended to overthrow the government through violence and only wanted to speed up democratic reforms promised after the assassination of President Park Chung Hee last October.
Final statements from the defendants will be heard Friday. Sentencing by the court's military judges will probably occur a few days afterward.