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Dissident pastor out of South Korean jail

South Korea on Saturday released a dissident pastor who was jailed last year for making an unauthorized trip to North Korea in 1989, a prison official said. Moon Ik-hwan, 72, was released from a hospital in southwestern Chonju where he was having a check-up. He has a heart condition.

Moon was serving a seven-year jail term at a Chonju prison, reduced from the original 10 years, for breaking South Korea's harsh anti-communist National Security Law, which bans unofficial contact with the communist North.

The prison official gave no more details about the release of Moon, a Protestant minister and adviser to the nationwide dissident organization Chonminyon.

But South Korea's domestic news agency Yonhap said he was released because of his health.

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