S.Korea to grants pardons to over 5,000 people

Seoul, Dec 30 (IANS) The South Korean government on Monday announced plans to grant special pardons to 5,174 people, including conscientious objectors who refused to do military service for religious or personal reasons.

The move, set to go into effect on Tuesday, includes 1,879 conscientious objectors, 267 who have been convicted for breaching election laws, as well as two politicians and a labour activist, Yonhap News Agency quoted the Justice Ministry as saying.

The Ministry said that the special pardons were aimed at relieving the burden of convicts whose livelihoods were affected and helping them successfully return to society.

At present, all able-bodied Korean men are required to serve in the Army for 21 months, the Navy for 23 months or the Air Force for 24 months.

Following rulings by the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court, the national assembly recently passed a bill that will allow conscientious objectors to serve the duty via 36 months of alternative service at correctional facilities.

This marks the third special pardon by the Moon Jae-in administration following one in December 2017 and another in February.

More than 6,400 and 4,300 people were granted special pardons, respectively.