Mark Lippert : US ambassador attacker sentenced to 12 years in prison

Updated: September 12, 2015
Mark Lippert : US ambassador attacker sentenced to 12 years in prison

Six months after a South Korean man attacked U.S. Ambassador Mark Lippert in Seoul, a court has sentenced Kim Ki Jong to 12 years in prison. Lippert, who had only recently taken the Korea post, survived the attack with cuts to his face and hand.

The attacker has “shown no repentance, attempting to justify his actions throughout the trial,” read the court’s verdict.

The prosecutors had demanded a 15-year jail sentence for the assailant who had also been previously given a two-year suspended prison term for throwing a stone at the Japanese ambassador to South Korea back in 2010.

While under police investigation, Kim said he had carried out the attack to show his opposition to annual Seoul-Washington military drills.

Kim had made seven trips to neighboring North Korea before the attack, raising suspicion in Seoul about the assailant’s possible connections with staunch enemy Pyongyang. Kim denied such allegations.

Back on March 5, Kim attacked US ambassador Mark Lippert with a fruit knife during a meeting at Sejong Cultural Institute in Seoul, leaving him with a deep gash on his face and damage on tendons and nerves.

North Korea expressed support for Kim’s attack, saying the “knife slashes of justice” were the “deserved punishment” for Lippert.

The Korean Peninsula has been locked in a cycle of military rhetoric since the Korean War, which lasted from 1950 to 1953 and ended in an armistice. No peace deal has been signed since then, meaning that Pyongyang and Seoul remain technically at war.