An appeals court on Monday reduced the prison term of a leftwing lawmaker accused of inciting rebellion from 12 years to nine.
Lee Seok-ki of the hardline Unified Progressive Party was indicted in September last year on charges of conspiring with members of a secretive cell to overthrow the government by force of arms in the event of a war with North Korea.
The Seoul High Court overturned the 53-year-old's conviction for plotting the rebellion and only found him guilty of inciting members of the cell to overthrow the democratic order.
The Seoul High Court ruled there was no need for the exact date or target of the rebellion to be specified to establish the crime of instigating a rebellion. "The crime can be fully established if it is probable that someone would decide on and commit the crime in the future."
The court also barred Lee from public office or exercising his political rights for seven years after his release from prison.
But the court said there is insufficient evidence that those who clandestinely gathered to discuss the rebellion last year had reached a decision to go ahead and carry out their plot.