Kim Ki Jong Refuses Trial on Security Law Violation Charge
D-Bo , Aug. 11, 2015, 10:12 a.m.
The man who slashed the top U.S. envoy to South Korea earlier this year has protested his trial, claiming a new charge against him is unfair. Kim Ki-jong attacked Amb. Mark Lippert with a knife at a breakfast function in Seoul on March 5, leaving the U.S. ambassador with deep gashes on his face and arm that needed more than 80 stitches.
Prosecutors have originally charged Kim with attempted murder, violence against a foreign envoy and business obstruction. Prosecutors later brought an additional charge of violating the National Security Law, which prohibits citizens from supporting or praising North Korea. On Monday, Kim caused a disturbance in the courtroom at the Seoul Central District Court, rejecting the additional charge.
"If the trial continues, it would leave a big blot in our history," Kim claimed as he asked for the judge's permission to leave the court. Kim's disturbance lasted about 10 minutes, forcing the presiding judge to adjourn the trial before it could even proceed. The judge set Aug. 20 for a new hearing.
Prosecutors said Kim attacked the envoy following the North's argument that South Korea-U.S. joint military exercises are a war rehearsal against the North, adding that books and other materials confiscated from Kim's home support North Korea's strategy to communize South Korea. Kim denied the allegation that he had contact with the North before committing the crime, emphasizing that it was an accident.
North Korea has hailed Kim as a hero, comparing him to Ahn Joong-keun, a renowned anti-Japanese independence fighter revered in both Koreas. North Korea has disavowed its involvement in the attack.