Occupy Protestors Demand Release of S. Korean Lawmaker

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The Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York have issued a rare statement in support of a former South Korean opposition lawmaker who was recently jailed after being convicted of spreading “false” rumors against President Lee Myung-bak.

They demanded the immediate release and reinstatement of Chung Bong-ju, 51, a panelist of the popular online talk show “Naneun Ggomsuda (I’m a petty trickster),” saying the case demonstrates that Korea’s judiciary and government are stifling people’s voices.

“Chung alleged (during the 2007 presidential campaign) that Lee, then a conservative candidate, was deeply involved in a fraudulent investment scheme called BBK,” said the statement, issued on Monday. “The BBK scandal financially ruined 5,500 retail investors and caused two suicides. By jailing Chung, South Korea’s 1 percent is attempting to muffle Naggomsu.”

It noted that the government fears the program because it invigorates the political energy of the people and mobilizes them peacefully against their corrupt political and economic agenda.

The statement came as South Korea’s main opposition party, of which Chung is a member, is planning to submit a petition with Amnesty International to recognize him as a political prisoner of conscience.

“We will soon embark on efforts to make Chung an internationally-recognized prisoner of conscience,” a party official said Tuesday.

The Occupy protesters said an attack on Naggomsu is an attack on free speech and the Occupy movement across the globe.

Three other hosts of the show visited New York in early December to encourage the protesters, but Chung couldn’t join because his request to travel overseas was denied by the government.

They agreed at the time that their movements are “in the same context” and decided to seek a strategic alliance, according to the statement.