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Court acquits blogger known as "Minerva"

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders welcomes blogger Park Dae-sung's acquittal by the Seoul central district court on 20 April 2009 on charges of affecting "foreign exchange markets" and undermining "the nation's credibility" by posting false information online. Prosecutors had requested an 18-month prison sentence for Park, who is better known by his blog name of "Minerva."

"This acquittal is a sign that the South Korean courts are capable of issuing independent verdicts based on the facts, without yielding to political pressure," Reporters Without Borders said. "We hope this verdict will encourage the authorities not to prosecute or intimidate Internet users any more."

Judge Yoo Young-hyun said in his ruling that he did not think Park "intended to damage the public interest" or was "aware the information was misleading when he wrote the postings." Park was due to be freed after spending more than three months in prison.

"I am just happy," his mother told journalists.

Reporters Without Borders, which had a representative monitoring the trial, called for Park's acquittal in a 17 April press release:

Updates the Park case:

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