SEOUL, May 18 (Korea Bizwire) – Despite a series of protests calling for his release, the South Korean army captain at the center of a controversial ‘gay inquest’ in the army was sentenced to two years in prison this Tuesday after a verdict was reached at the country’s general military court.
The captain, whose name is being withheld, was arrested in April for breaching the country’s military laws, after a video surfaced on social media which allegedly depicted him engaged in sexual intercourse with another man.
In South Korea, soldiers who engage in anal intercourse can be jailed for up to two years according to Clause 6 of Article 92 in the South Korean military’s criminal code.
The South Korean Army has already been accused by human rights groups including Rainbow Action Against Sexual-Minority Discrimination of ordering an undercover inquiry into gay army soldiers currently serving in the military, in an attempt to out and persecute them. Rainbow Action has called for army chief of staff Jang Jun-kyu, who was behind the investigation, to step down.
Since then, the South Korean army’s systematic witch-hunt has received international media coverage, drawing criticism from numerous international human rights organizations.
The army denied the allegations in a statement released last month, claiming the human rights and privacy of the captain were protected during the investigation, and that they upheld legal processes.
Last month, the Center for Military Human Rights Korea (MHRK) filed a suit against Jang and four other cyber army investigators over breach of rights and privacy with the National Human Rights Commission of Korea.
The final trial in the gay captain’s case is scheduled to be held next Wednesday.
In celebration of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia yesterday, a press conference was held near the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in Central Seoul, during which more than fifty human rights groups called for the anti-homosexuality clause in military law to be abolished.