SOUTH KOREA: Conscientious objector Cheol-min Kang on trial


On 12 December 2003, South Korean conscientious objector stood trial on charges of desertion. From the trial it has to be feared that the sentence will be heavy. Cheol-min Kang, a conscript, did not return to his military unit after holidays, and declared his conscientious objection in protest against the deployment of South Korean troops in Iraq on 21 November 2003 (see He was subsequently arrested on 28 November 2003 (see

During the trial on 12 December, the judge emphasized that the USA is a friendly nation for South Korea, and that therefore South Korea has to support the USA. Cheol-min Kang's lawyers asserted his innocence, because the South Korean constitution prohibits wars of aggression. The military prosecutor demanded three years' imprisonment. The sentencing is scheduled for 19 December 2003.

War Resisters' International calls for letters of support to Cheol-min Kang. Cheol-min Kang (private)
POB 85-10, 32st Army Division
Ochi-dong, Buk-gu
Gwangju 500-799
Korea, Republic of

War Resisters' International urgently calls for letters of protest to the Korean authorities, and Korean embassies abroad. A protest email to Roh Moo-hyun, President of Korea, can be sent at

War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of Cheol-min Kang, and his discharge from the Korean military. War Resisters' International also calls for the release of all imprisoned conscientious objectors in South Korea. More information on conscientious objection in South Korea is available at

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International

Ministry of Defence
1 Yongsandong 3ga, Yongsangu, Seoul 140-701 Tel +82-2-795 0071 Fax: +82-2-703 3109

Roh Moo-hyun (President)
Cheong Wa Dae - Office of the President of South Korea 1, Sejongono Jongo-gu Seoul 110-050 KOREA (Republic of)
Fax: +82-2-770 0084

National Human Rights Commission of Korea #16, euljiro 1-ga, jung-gu Seoul 100-842 KOREA (Republic of)
fax +82-2-2125 9666

For a list of South Korean embassies abroad, see…