Court Grants First Refugee Status to Russian Draft Evader | Be Korea-savvy

Court Grants First Refugee Status to Russian Draft Evader

The Seoul Administrative Court (Yonhap)

The Seoul Administrative Court (Yonhap)

SEOUL, June 12 (Korea Bizwire) – A Russian man, who entered South Korea two years ago after refusing to be drafted to fight against Ukraine, has been granted refugee status by a local court for the first time, judicial officials said Wednesday.

The Seoul Administrative Court made the ruling on May 22 in the lawsuit filed by the Russian, whose identity was withheld, against the head of the Seoul Immigration Office, they said.

When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the Russian man posted his opposition to the war on his social media and participated in anti-war rallies. He then arrived in South Korea in November of the same year after being given a conscription notice.

In January 2023, he applied for refugee status in Seoul, saying he escaped from Russia to avoid conscription and could be punished if he returns home. As the authorities refused to accept his application, however, he launched the administrative lawsuit.

Under the Refugee Act, a person can be recognized as a refugee if there are sufficient grounds to believe that he or she may be persecuted due to social status or political opinion. The Seoul court said the plaintiff’s refusal to be drafted was seen as an expression of political opinion and acknowledged the possibility of him being persecuted at home, judging from Russian media reports.


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