SEOUL, Aug. 19 (Korea Bizwire) — A district court has ruled that it cannot accept a conscientious objection to mandatory military service based on a recently joined Jehova’s Witness activity after several years of staying out of religious activities.
The Seoul Central District Court on Thursday sentenced a 28-year-old man to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years, overturning the previous ruling by the first instance court that acquitted the man of the charges.
The man refused to join the military service despite notifications in April 2019 and prosecutors suspended the indictment at that time.
Again, however, the man failed to comply with the enlistment notifications in October and was put on trial.
The man became a Jehova’s Witness in his teenage years but started to abstain from religious activities in March 2017. He returned to the Jehova’s Witnesses as recently as April 2019, when he received his first enlistment notification.
“We fail to deem that the defendant has devoutly served the Jehova’s Witnesses or has deep religious belief. We fail to deem that his conscience is deep, solid and true to set the basis for a desperate and detailed conscientious objection to military service,” the appellate court said.
“The defendant failed to produce any specific intent on returning to his religious activities around the time he received his most recent enlistment notification and nothing in the documents submitted by the defendant supported his arguments.”
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)