World

S. Korea court upholds prison term for ex-lawmaker for discussing pro-North Korea rebellion

  • Members of conservative groups hold defaced portraits of former Unified Progressive Party lawmaker Lee Seok-ki as they shout slogans during a rally denouncing Lee near the Supreme Court in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. South Korea’s Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a prison sentence for Lee arrested for encouraging an armed rebellion in the South should war with North Korea break out. The letters on placards read " Punish Lee Seo-ki." (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

    Members of conservative groups hold defaced portraits of former Unified Progressive Party lawmaker Lee Seok-ki as they shout slogans during a rally denouncing Lee near the Supreme Court in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. South Korea’s Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a prison sentence for Lee arrested for encouraging an armed rebellion in the South should war with North Korea break out. The letters on placards read " Punish Lee Seo-ki." (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)  (The Associated Press)

  • South Korean Vietnam War veterans with national flags shout slogans during a rally denouncing former Unified Progressive Party lawmaker Lee Seok-ki  near the Supreme Court in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. South Korea’s Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a prison sentence for  Lee arrested for encouraging an armed rebellion in the South should war with North Korea break out. The letters on placards read " Punish Lee Seo-ki." (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

    South Korean Vietnam War veterans with national flags shout slogans during a rally denouncing former Unified Progressive Party lawmaker Lee Seok-ki near the Supreme Court in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. South Korea’s Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a prison sentence for Lee arrested for encouraging an armed rebellion in the South should war with North Korea break out. The letters on placards read " Punish Lee Seo-ki." (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)  (The Associated Press)

  • South Korean army soldiers break the window glasses during an exercise against a terrorist attack at a training camp in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said that it is a part of preparation to counteract terror since threats of terrorism are growing worldwide. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

    South Korean army soldiers break the window glasses during an exercise against a terrorist attack at a training camp in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said that it is a part of preparation to counteract terror since threats of terrorism are growing worldwide. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)  (The Associated Press)

South Korea's Supreme Court has upheld a prison sentence for a former opposition lawmaker arrested for encouraging an armed rebellion in the South should war with North Korea break out.

Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae said Thursday that the court confirmed a 9-year prison sentence for former Unified Progressive Party lawmaker Lee Seok-ki for inciting rebellion and praising the North. Yang said the court also upheld shorter terms for six of Lee's colleagues in their final appeals trial.

South Korea's Constitutional Court in December ordered the breakup of UPP for supporting North Korea and removed Lee and four other lawmakers from parliament. Critics said the move showed the government wants to take away citizens' freedom of expression.

Praising the North is illegal in the South.