A South Korean courtroom has acquitted a non secular sect leader of costs that he intentionally disrupted the federal government’s anti-virus response early final yr after 1000’s of his worshippers have been contaminated with the coronavirus.
However, the Suwon District Court on Wednesday discovered the 89-year-old Lee Man-hee responsible of separate costs that he embezzled greater than $5 million in church funds and arranged unauthorized worship providers in public areas. His three-year jail time period shall be suspended for 4 years.
Lee’s church, the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, issued an announcement denying his wrongdoings and confirming plans to attraction. Kang Susana, a prosecutor in Suwon, stated her workplace would determine whether or not to attraction after analyzing the ruling.
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Prosecutors had sought a five-year jail time period for Lee, who was arrested in August earlier than his launch on bail in November. They accused Lee and his church of violating the nation’s infectious illness legislation by intentionally hiding some of the church’s membership and under-reporting its gatherings to keep away from broader quarantines following the outbreak across the southeastern metropolis of Daegu in February and March final yr.
But the courtroom stated it was unclear whether or not the church’s failure to supply a full checklist of its membership was a criminal offense. The assortment of such primary info isn’t half of the precise boundaries of contact tracing spelled out by the legislation, the courtroom stated.
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More than 5,000 of South Korea’s 70,212 coronavirus circumstances have been linked to Lee’s church.