Posted by: becketfund | September 2, 2008

South Korea: Pacifists Choose Jail Over Military Conscription

SEOUL – Out of 300,000 men in South Korea who are conscripted into the army every year, close to 750 refuse to join on moral grounds and are jailed because of their religious beliefs, Reuters reported on September 2.  Go Gong-ju, a Roman Catholic, chose an 18-month jail term rather than joining the army.  Said Go:  “My nerves were shot in prison because I was jailed without committing a crime.”  Most of the conscientious objectors are Jehovah’s Witnesses, whose beliefs forbid military service.  Those who are later released from jail often have difficulty finding employment because of their criminal record.  Conservative government officials and organizations such as the Koreans’ Veteran Association maintain that offering an alternative form of service, such as community service, would encourage draft dodgers. 

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