The Supreme Court in Seoul has upheld a ban on praising the North. A man convicted of three charges – praising an anti-national group, communicating with them and aiding their activities – and sentenced to two years in jail with three years’ probation, has had a later acquittal overruled.

The Korea JoongAng Daily reports on the ruling, saying that it stated that praising North Korea is a violation of the National Security Law that “threatens the safety, existence and democracy of the nation.”

The court overturned the 2010 acquittal of the 48-year-old man, whose main crime was to praise the former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in an e-mail. The man, who was a South Korean businessman working in Indonesia, sent an e-mail to a North Korean spy to commemorate the birthday of then-leader Kim Jong-il.

The e-mail reportedly read: “I appreciate the great leadership of Kim Jong-il and I believe his direction is leading to a way that our people can survive. I’m prepared to follow that direction. I wish our great leader Kim Jong-il good health.”

The latest ruling concluded: “we recognize a clear danger in the letter that threatens the foundation of democracy or the safety and existence of the nation … The lower court, which didn’t recognize this point, misunderstood the National Security Law.”