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JANUARY 17, 2020

South Korea Announces Special Amnesty to Conscientious Objectors

On December 31, 2019, the government of South Korea announced that the 1,879 conscientious objectors who were recently released from prison would be granted special amnesty. While the brothers will retain their criminal records, the government will release them from any civil restrictions. This special amnesty is the latest result of the 2018 decisions by the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court recognizing conscientious objection to military service as a right, not a crime.

The government imposes five years of civil restrictions on convicts when they complete their prison sentence. Since conscientious objectors have criminal records, the government had applied these restrictions to our brothers. As a result, our brothers were prevented from taking exams for nationally recognized licenses or seeking certain kinds of employment.

Brother Hong Dae-il, who coordinates the efforts of the Public Information Desk in South Korea, states: “We are thankful to the government for lifting these civil restrictions. This is one step closer toward fully acknowledging that those who were imprisoned for conscientious objection are not to be considered criminals.”

As we look forward to future positive developments in South Korea, we give glory and honor to Jehovah, the ultimate Lawgiver.—Revelation 4:11.