A military court rejected an appeal by former presidential candidate Kim Dae Jung, sentenced to death on charges of plotting to overthrow the government. Mr. Kim, South Korea's leading dissident, has denied all sedition charges. He can still appeal his case to the civilian Supreme Court. President Chun Doo Hwan can also commute his sentence.
The court also upheld a 20-year jail sentence imposed on Lee Mun Yong, a university professor, but reduced from 20 to 15 years the sentence of Moon Ik Hwan, a Protestant minister. Sentences ranging from 2 to 15 years on 21 other defendants accused with Mr. Kim were confirmed or reduced to range between a suspended 2-year sentence and 15 years. The defendants include former members of the national Assembly, university professors, students, churchmen, and a former journalist.
Meanwhile, South Korea's Legislative Council for national Security approved a law barring old politicians, former members of Parliament, and senior civil servnts and political dissidents from political activities for eight years. President Chun, who has led an official campaign against corruption and inefficiencly, is expected to put the latest law into force shortly. Those affected will be able to ask for a review by nine-member screening board appointed by the President.