“South and North Korea should be reunified,” the attacker yelled as he gashed Lippert’s face and wrist, causing wounds that would ultimately require two-and-a-half hours of surgery and some 80 stitches.
In announcing the verdict Friday, Judge Kim Dong-ah said: “Kim seems to have had a strong will to attack the victim, choosing a knife to repeatedly slash the part of the body that had a direct connection with life.”
But as Yonhap, the South Korean news agency, reports, the court acquitted the attacker of charges of “violating the country’s anti-North Korea law which prohibits citizens from supporting or praising the North.” Prosecutors said they would appeal Kim’s acquittal on those charges.
Lippert returned to work soon after the attack. He had not directly commented on Friday’s verdict, but CNN quoted a U.S. Embassy spokesman in Seoul saying:
We continue to appreciate the strong support of the Korean people and the Korean government following the attack on Ambassador Lippert in March. This support demonstrates the deep friendship between our peoples.