NATIONAL

Govt. releases 58 conscientious objectors

By Park Ju-young
  • Published : Nov 30, 2018 - 14:29
  • Updated : Nov 30, 2018 - 14:29

A total of 58 South Korean conscientious objectors were released from prison on parole simultaneously at 10 a.m. on Friday, the Ministry of Justice said.

The release came after the landmark Supreme Court ruling Nov. 1, which for the first time in Korean history acknowledged religious beliefs and personal conscience as justifiable reasons to refuse mandatory military service.


Korean conscientious objectors are seen in front of a prison in Daegu on Friday soon after their release. (Yonhap)


The Ministry of Justice’s parole review board held a meeting Monday and decided to release the 58 conscientious objectors, who had been imprisoned for at least six months, on parole. The 58 were serving jail terms of up to three years in accordance with Korean law. They will perform alternative forms of community service for the duration of their parole.

The ministry said it had thoroughly reviewed all records concerning the conscientious objectors’ trials, investigations and incarceration to verify the sincerity of their beliefs. In the course of the screening process, the review board deferred the release of five individuals who had failed to meet the Supreme Court’s standards.

As of Friday, 13 conscientious objectors remain in jail. 


Korean conscientious objectors are seen in front of a prison in Daegu on Friday soon after their release. (Yonhap)


Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Defense and the conscription agency said Wednesday that the government is seeking to require 36 months of work in correctional facilities as an alternative to military service for conscientious objectors.

The Defense Ministry will hold its second public hearing Dec. 13 to address the matter of alternative service and intends to finalize its plan by the end of this year.


By Park Ju-young (jupark@heraldcorp.com)