SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A South Korean court has sentenced a left-wing lawmaker to 12 years in prison for plotting a pro-North Korea rebellion in the event of a war on the Korean Peninsula.

Lee Seok-ki from the small United Progressive Party was arrested in September for allegedly discussing attacks on national infrastructure with his colleagues. Tensions were especially high between North and South Korea last spring, prompting fears of war.

Lee denied the allegations. He said Seoul’s spy service fabricated the charges to divert public attention from an investigation into alleged illegal online campaigning involving its agents.

The Suwon District Court said in its ruling Monday that Lee’s punishment was inevitable because his plot posed a “substantial and apparent threat” to South Korea.

Lee’s party says it will appeal.

Subscribe to Asian Correspondent

Receive our weekly round-up of the most important stories in Asia

We will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.