Seoul to Deport American Over Comments

Seoul to Deport American Over CommentsSeoul to Deport American Over Comments

South Korea plans to deport a Korean-American woman accused of praising rival North Korea in a recent lecture, officials said Friday.

The Korea Immigration Service decided to deport Shin Eun-mi, a California resident, after determining that her comments violated South Korea’s Security Law, agency official Kim Du-yeol said. He declined to say when she would be deported, AP reported.

Shin posted stories about her trips to North Korea on OhmyNews, a popular South Korean online news site. Her book on her trips was included in a government-designated reading list in 2013, but the culture ministry removed it this week amid criticism of it. Ministry officials said they will seek to retrieve 1,200 copies that were distributed to libraries across South Korea.

During a November lecture in Seoul, Shin said many North Korean defectors living in South Korea had told her they want to go back home and that North Koreans hope new leader Kim Jong Un will bring change.

Shin has said she had no intention of praising the country and was only expressing what she felt during her travels there. In South Korea, praising North Korea can be punished by up to seven years in prison under the Security Law. Critics have urged that the law be scrapped, saying it violates freedom of expression.

Conservatives have sided with government moves to expel Shin, accusing her of ignoring North Korea’s human rights conditions. But her impending deportation drew sharp criticism from liberals who say the conservative government of President Park Geun-hye is clamping down on freedom of speech.