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Korea Południowa niesprawiedliwie traktuje Dong-hyuk Shina

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7 MARCA 2017
KOREA POŁUDNIOWA

Korea Południowa niesprawiedliwie traktuje Dong-hyuk Shina

Władze Korei Południowej wtrącają do więzienia setki osób odmawiających służby wojskowej ze względu na sumienie. Karze podlegają również mężczyźni, którzy odmawiają stawienia się na ćwiczenia wojskowe po odbyciu zasadniczej służby wojskowej i przeniesieniu do rezerwy.

Dorastając w Korei Południowej, Dong-hyuk Shin wiedział, że pewnego dnia otrzyma powołanie do wojska. Stawił się do odbycia służby wojskowej, a w 2005 roku został automatycznie przeniesiony do rezerwy. Rezerwiści są przez kolejne osiem lat regularnie wzywani do odbycia ćwiczeń wojskowych.

Krótko po zwolnieniu ze służby Dong-hyuk Shin zaczął studiować Biblię. Jej pokojowe przesłanie poruszyło jego sumienie i pobudziło go do zmiany stosunku do służby wojskowej. Gdy w marcu 2006 roku został wezwany na ćwiczenia dla rezerwistów, poinformował władze wojskowe, że nie może zgodzić się na szkolenie, ponieważ byłoby to sprzeczne z jego sumieniem.

Brak poszanowania wolności sumienia

Korea Południowa nie uznaje prawa do podyktowanej sumieniem odmowy pełnienia służby wojskowej. Obecnie wzywa na ćwiczenia dla rezerwistów ponad 40 Świadków Jehowy, którzy odmawiają służby wojskowej ze względu na sumienie.

Wojsko zignorowało przyczyny, dla których Dong-hyuk Shin odmawiał wzięcia udziału w ćwiczeniach rezerwistów, i w ciągu roku kalendarzowego 2006 skierowało do niego w sumie 30 wezwań. Dong-hyuk Shin otrzymywał wezwania przez kolejne siedem lat. Od marca 2006 do grudnia 2013 roku odebrał ich łącznie 118 *. Ponieważ za każdym razem z szacunkiem odmawiał stawienia się na ćwiczenia, 49 razy był sądzony i uznany za winnego, 69 razy stawał przed sądami pierwszej i drugiej instancji oraz otrzymał w sumie 35 wyroków.

„Nie miał innego wyjścia”

Sądy nie miały wątpliwości, że Dong-hyuk Shin szczerze trzymał się głosu swojego sumienia. W swojej decyzji z 7 października 2014 roku Sąd Rejonowy w Ulsan orzekł: „To zrozumiałe, że gdy [Dong-hyuk Shin] został Świadkiem Jehowy, w tej sytuacji nie miał innego wyjścia, jak tylko złamać prawo, ponieważ nie mógł pogodzić służby wojskowej ze swoim wewnętrznym sumieniem i przekonaniami religijnymi”.

Chociaż Sąd Rejonowy ze zrozumieniem odniósł się do trudnego położenia Dong-hyuk Shina, możliwości sądów południowokoreańskich są ograniczone przepisami prawa o służbie wojskowej. Dong-hyuk Shin został ukarany przez sądy grzywnami w wysokości ponad 16 milionów wonów (około 55 000 złotych) i sześć razy skazany w zawieszeniu na pozbawienie wolności na okres przynajmniej sześciu miesięcy. W jednej sprawie sąd skazał go na 200 godzin prac społecznych.

Dong-hyuk Shin mówi: „Byłem tym strasznie udręczony. Miałem wrażenie, że ta próba nigdy się nie skończy. Moje częste wizyty w sądzie martwiły też moją rodzinę. Myślę, że przez te dziewięć lat tak samo jak ja cierpiała moja mama, a cały ten stres wpłynął niekorzystnie na jej zdrowie. Serce mi pękało, gdy widziałem, jak zadręcza się ona z powodu mojej sytuacji. Ucierpiałem też pod względem finansowym. Ciągłe wezwania, późniejsze postępowania sądowe i wyroki zmusiły mnie siedem razy do zmiany miejsca zatrudnienia, ponieważ z powodu obowiązku stawiania się w sądzie rosła moja absencja w pracy”.

Naruszenie umów międzynarodowych

Dong-hyuk Shin bezskutecznie odwoływał się od każdego z wyroków do sądów południowokoreańskich — Sąd Najwyższy czterokrotnie odrzucił jego skargi. Po wyczerpaniu środków prawnych w Korei Południowej w czerwcu 2016 roku Dong-hyuk Shin wniósł skargę do Komitetu Praw Człowieka ONZ. Stwierdził w niej, że poprzez ciągłe wezwania, postępowania sądowe i wyroki skazujące Korea Południowa nie wywiązała się z obowiązku przestrzegania Międzynarodowego Paktu Praw Obywatelskich i Politycznych. Skarga dotyczy trzech zagadnień:

  • Wielokrotne powoływanie do wojska osób odmawiających służby wojskowej ze względu na sumienie i ponownie karanie ich za tę odmowę jest jednoznacznie uznane w prawie międzynarodowym za pogwałcenie prawa do rzetelnego procesu.

  • Wielokrotne wezwania do odbycia ćwiczeń wojskowych i idące za tym procesy karne potwierdzają oczywisty cel działania urzędników państwowych, którym jest przymuszenie do służby wojskowej. Życie Dong-hyuk Shina wypełniły nękające oskarżenia i przewody sądowe, a lekceważenie i uznawanie trzymania się swoich przekonań religijnych za przestępstwo stanowiło upokarzającą karę.

  • Ponieważ Dong-hyuk Shin sprzeciwia się odbyciu służby wojskowej z powodu mocnych przekonań religijnych, uważa on, że naruszono jego prawo do wolności sumienia i wyznania.

Oczekiwanie na ulgę

Dong-hyuk Shin jest pełen optymizmu, że jego skarga zostanie rozpatrzona pozytywnie, ponieważ Komitet wielokrotnie orzekał, iż Korea Południowa powinna przestrzegać podyktowanego sumieniem prawa do odmowy służby wojskowej *. Z nadzieją oczekuje na decyzję, która uwzględni szczególną sytuację osób przeniesionych do rezerwy. Dong-hyuk Shin mówi: „Nie żałuję, że muszę bronić moich przekonań religijnych i sumienia, ale sprzeciwiam się temu, jak byłem traktowany. Mam nadzieję, że władze Korei Południowej uznają to, że ludzie mają prawo odmówić wypełnienia obowiązku nałożonego przez państwo, jeśli jest on sprzeczny z nakazami sumienia”. Podobne stanowisko zajmują Świadkowie Jehowy w Korei Południowej i na całym świecie.

Więcej

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NAJCZĘŚCIEJ ZADAWANE PYTANIA

Dlaczego Świadkowie Jehowy nie idą na wojnę?

Świadkowie Jehowy są znani z tego, że nie uczestniczą w wojnach. Dowiedz się dlaczego.

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      An Jung-hyun, 23, is a Jehovah's Witness on trial for refusing to fulfill his compulsory military service. He was found guilty twice in lower courts, and appealed to the Supreme Court in July. Lawyers told him his chances of winning were low given the highest court's precedents, but he is cautiously hopeful.

      This year alone, district courts acquitted nine fellow Jehovah's Witnesses of violations of the Military Law. The most recent ruling came one week ago from the Cheongju District Court which stated, "There are many ways to contribute to the nation without violating a person's basic rights such as social service or alternate work. It is unjust to punish military objectors by criminal law without even making efforts to provide alternatives."

      Another hopeful sign comes from Kim Jae-hyung, a Supreme Court justice nominee who recently expressed his support for such objectors and alternative ways to serve the country. His confirmation hearing will begin in September, and if confirmed, he is expected to add a different opinion on the 13-justice court.

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      "But, the appeals court and highest court are still conservative," Ahn said. She also doubts Kim will be influential enough to change the opinion of the entire top court.

      Kim Dong-in, another Jehovah's Witness, claimed it's time for the Korean government to take a stance.

      "If you look at the world, fewer countries refuse to recognize conscious objectors. It will eventually happen in Korea. It's time for Korea to voluntarily recognize them instead of being coerced to do so under pressure," he said.

      But those against conscientious objectors claim if they are recognized, many people will abuse the system. "If Jehovah's Witnesses are found not guilty and are allowed alternative services, many young men will join the religious group only to avoid military duty," a blogger said. "There will be no way to sort out whether they are really believers or just misusing the system."

      Now, eyes are on the Constitutional Court, which is expected to rule on an appeal by a conscientious objector later this year. Two previous rulings found it unconstitutional to skip military service because of personal beliefs.

      Between 1950 and 2011, more than 16,000 conscientious objectors have been imprisoned in Korea, according to Amnesty International Korea. Every year, hundreds of objectors, mostly Jehovah's Witnesses, are put on trial for their rejection of military service based on their beliefs. Those convicted are sentenced to imprisonment for up to 18 months.

      "There will be so much I won't be able to do if I have a criminal record," An said. "I am not saying that I will avoid my service to the country altogether. I would like to serve my country, but in a different form." 
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    • By Kurt
      Song In-ho, 25, is waiting for a court ruling on his decision to refuse military service in South Korea, and will be jailed once his claim is rejected. To mark the International Day of Conscientious Objectors on 15 May, he tells Amnesty how his religious beliefs have shaped his life.
      Growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness, my conscience was shaped by the Bible. We are taught to love even our enemies, and that we should not repay violence with violence. This is why I made a conscientious objection to military service. I was found guilty at my initial trial and, if my appeal is rejected, I will be put behind bars for 18 months. But that is not where my story ends or even begins.
      Branded a criminal at birth
      In South Korea, those who conscientiously object to military service are stigmatized, almost as if we are branded at birth. It is like people know that a child is predestined to be in jail, so they decide to treat them like criminals-to-be.
      My mother is a Jehovah’s Witness, but my father was initially very opposed to my religion. He knew his beloved son would eventually go to jail for refusing military service, and no father wants that.Because of this, I have always tried my hardest to be a good, diligent son. As a result, my father gradually changed his mind. He was the first to support my appeal. 
      When I was a primary school student, I was asked during class to write about my future aspirations, but I left it blank as I knew it was not achievable. Since I was destined to go to jail anyway, what use is a dream? Yet I could not tell that to my mother because she would be heartbroken.
      I remember a traumatic experience when some classmates approached me and asked: “Are you a Jehovah’s Witness? My mother said that you would be sent to jail.” It was many years later that I realized this experience was merely the prologue to what was to unfold in my life.
      Marked out at school
      At the start of each school term, teachers and friends would ask me the same question:“Are you really going to jail? Are you sure you want to be a Jehovah's Witness?” My answer was always the same. It isn't a matter of compromise, because it is about creed, something I would trade my life for. It is a burden I need to carry to the end.
      Friends would ask, "Do you even know how much negative gossip there is about you?" Such moments are very bitter to stomach, and those painful memories are far too many.
      The discrimination at college was particularly harsh. My friends once mocked me: “Song In-ho, you can't use profanity, you can't fight, you don't pass as a man, and you’re not living up to anything.” There was a lot of ridicule, and it was quite frankly unpleasant. I felt angry. I spent a lot of time thinking: “Is this the right thing to do? Is it unmanly?”
      Ever since I was born, I have felt like I’m on a runaway train rushing toward an inevitable station called jail and feeling utterly helpless, unable to escape. 
      After graduation, I wanted to find a good job but couldn’t. As a conscientious objector, getting a job in a reputable company is nearly impossible because of the discrimination and prejudice. I’m currently helping my parents in their cleaning business.
      “As a conscientious objector, getting a job in a reputable company is nearly impossible because of the discrimination and prejudice.” Only asking for alternatives
      To prepare for my trial, I went to court on the same day each week and I saw petty thieves, burglars, crooks, and rapists – criminals of all variety, all appealing that their sentences were unreasonable. I felt that if anyone should make an appeal, it ought to be me.
      I made up my mind then. If given a chance, no matter what it took, I would do all I can to plead my innocence, even if it meant certain incarceration.
      I am willing and ready to dedicate myself to any form of alternative service for my country, no matter how difficult. My conscientious objection to military service is nothing to do with avoiding service.
      I am a grateful citizen, and it is my wish that I would be allowed to contribute to the nation in some way other than military service. Whatever that alternative may be, I am willing to take it on, as long as it does not go against my conscience.
      That's all we are really asking for.
      In South Korea, a majority of conscientious objectors are Jehovah’s Witnesses. The country imprisons more people for their conscientious objection to military service than the rest of the world put together – with at least 600 men mostly aged between 20 and 24 currently in jail. 
      Amnesty International
       
      Living by a Bible-Trained Conscience, Part 3 Korea (1961-1979)
       
       
      Living by a Bible-Trained Conscience, Part 2 Korea (1946-1960)
       
      Living by a Bible-Trained Conscience, Part 1 Korea (1939-1945)
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