South Korea Conscientious Objectors

January 17, 2014 - 4:34 AM
In this Friday, Jan. 9. 2014 photo, Jeon Jang-Beom, left, and Yoon Hyun-Jin show their family photo taken with their son Jeon Seong-Jin, second from left in the picture, during an interview in Seoul, South Korea. Jeon Seong-Jin, a 26-year-old dentist, is being punished for a crime that is not a crime at all in most of the world. A Jehovah’s Witness, he has refused to become a soldier in South Korea, where all able-bodied male citizens are required to serve about 21 months in the army. More than 660 conscientious objectors were jailed each year in South Korea from 2004 to 2012, far more than any other country. Eritrea comes in second with only about 50 imprisoned, according to the official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses, who often refuse military service because they believe the Bible forbids warfare. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)