Defense Ministry Voices Discontent over Ruling in Favor of Conscientious Objectors

Write : 2016-10-18 18:37:22 Update : 2016-10-19 07:02:27

Defense Ministry Voices Discontent over Ruling in Favor of Conscientious Objectors

A South Korean court has ruled in favor of a man who refused to take part in the country's mandatory military service on religious grounds.

The Gwangju District Court on Tuesday dismissed an appeal by prosecutors, upholding a previous ruling that found the man not guilty.

It also acquitted two other so-called "conscientious objectors" who had been sentenced to one-and-a-half years in prison.

All three of the men are Jehovah's Witnesses, who say they are prohibited by their faith from entering the military.

The court said the men's refusal of mandatory military service was consistent with their religious faith and conscience, considering how they were brought up. 

It cited an international trend of recognizing conscientious objectors, and pointed to a growing consensus that some kind of alternative military service is needed in such cases.

The Defense Ministry urged the court to use caution and prudence, as cases like this may affect national security, cause a decrease of morale for active-duty servicemen, and enable others to evade military service.

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