The Washington Times - March 22, 2009, 10:44PM

SEOUL—This afternoon a jailed South Korean blogger accused of criticizing the government’s handling of the economy sees his day in court.

Park Dae-sung, who went by the screen name “Minerva,” Greek goddess of wisdom, was arrested in January and accused of harming South Korea’s markets through his popular blog posts predicting troubled financial outcomes. If Park is indicted and convicted, he face up to five years in prison or a fine of up to 50 million won ($37,000), according to The Korea Times.

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I just got off the phone with the office the defendant’s attorney, Park Chan Jung, a prominent Korean lawyer who has agreed to take on the case and will have public comment later today. A spokesman for the South Korean government’s Ministry of Justice Office of Public Information said he had no comment at this time.

Insiders say the government is hoping for a speedy trial to move the process along and quickly deflect the spotlight from critics who say a modern and free country like South Korea should not reign in public speech against the government led by conservative businessman Lee Myung-bak.

Last week neighboring North Korea arrested two American journalists working for Al Gore’s Current TV. The pair was arrested for allegedly crossing over the border illegally into North Korea from China.

President Lee Myung-bak