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South Korean blogger seeks bail after arrest

  International  -   POSTED: 2009/01/28 17:41

A South Korean blogger charged with spreading false information has requested bail and said his arrest was unconstitutional, a lawyer said Wednesday.


The 30-year-old man — identified in court documents as Park Dae-sung — was charged last week with posting a blog in December that said the government had banned major financial institutions and trade businesses from buying U.S. dollars.

The case has ignited debate about freedom of speech on the Internet in South Korea, one of the world's most wired and tech-savvy nations.

The blogger has been in custody since his arrest earlier this month. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison or a fine of up to 50 million won ($36,360).

Prosecutors said last week the posting was not only inaccurate but it had "a clear and grave influence" on the foreign exchange market and undermined the nation's credibility.

The blogger had gained popularity after some of his predictions, including the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers, proved correct.

Defense lawyer Park Chan-jong told The Associated Press on Wednesday the blogger has also asked that the Constitutional Court be allowed to rule whether the law under which he was charged is unconstitutional. The Seoul Central District Court can either reject his petition or ask the top court to decide.

Park said the arrest violated his client's freedom of speech rights.


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