Prosecutors demanded an 18-month sentence Monday for a popular South Korean blogger who is accused of spreading false financial information in a case that has ignited a debate about freedom of speech in cyberspace.
The 30-year-old blogger, a fierce critic of government economic policy, was arrested and indicted in January after he wrote that the government had banned major financial institutions and trade businesses from buying U.S. dollars.
Prosecutors have said the posting was not only inaccurate, but it had affected the foreign exchange market and undermined the nation's credibility.
But opposition parties and critics have claimed the arrest is aimed at silencing criticism of the government and restricts online freedom of speech.
Seoul District Court spokesman Kwon Tae-young said prosecutors demanded 18 months in prison for the blogger, identified as Park Dae-sung, and the court is scheduled to deliver a verdict on April 20.
The charge carries up to five years in prison or a fine of up to 50 million won ($38,000).
The blogger, known by his pen name "Minerva" after the Greek goddess of wisdom, had rocketed to fame after some of his predictions, including the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers, proved to be correct.