• SKorea’s top court keeps conscientious objector in jail

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    SEOUL: Human rights activists voiced disappointment Friday after South Korea’s Supreme Court turned down an appeal by a conscientious objector against a jail term for refusing to serve in the military. More than 60 years after the end of the Korean War, nearly every able-bodied South Korean man between the age of 18 and 35 is required to complete around two years of military service. In its ruling on Thursday, the Supreme Court upheld the 18-month sentence handed down to the appellant, a 21-year-old, identified only by his surname, Ahn. “Objecting to one’s duty in the name of conscience does not belong on the list of justifiable causes that exempt one from punishment,” the court said. Like the majority of other service “refuseniks” Ahn is a Jehovah’s Witness and argued his case against serving on the grounds of religious conviction. Some 12,000 South Korean Jehovah’s Witnesses have been jailed as conscientious objectors over the past six decades.

    AFP

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