South Koreans defend themselves against lax penalties for sex crimes

hundreds of thousands of South Koreans have signed a Petition calling for action against the judge, who had rejected a request from the United States for the ex

South Koreans defend themselves against lax penalties for sex crimes

hundreds of thousands of South Koreans have signed a Petition calling for action against the judge, who had rejected a request from the United States for the extradition of the 24-year-old Son Jong-woo. He was the operator of the largest Website with so-called child pornography ever uncovered in the Darknet.

Son had been arrested in March 2018 in Korea, according to an investigation by law enforcement authorities from 19 Nations, including Germany. From June 2015 until his arrest in Son operating a Internet site, on which an estimated 250,000 Videos were, in which children are sexualised violence has been done to - what is euphemistically referred to as "child pornography". The site had 1.28 million subscribers and Son should have more than 290.000 euros in Bitcoins earned.

at Least 23 children affected could be saved due to the investigations, more than 330 people were arrested, including more than 220 in South Korea. Son has been in Seoul before the court and sentenced to 18 months in prison. In April, his prison sentence ended. He, however, remained under the supervision, after it had Laundry accused the investigative authorities from the United States because of a series of offences, including money. Him 50 years to life in prison in the USA were threatened.

"The judges should be ashamed of themselves"

A three-judge panel of the Supreme court of Seoul refused the delivery from the request, however, on the grounds that the extradition to the U.S. authorities would hinder the South Korean investigation of sexual violence in the Internet.

In South Korea, there was quick criticism. The next day, a Petition requested that the chief judge Kang Young-soo should not, as planned, a seat on the Supreme court.

"I'm afraid to imagine what that would be for a country, if the Person has made this decision, would be part of the Supreme court," wrote the Initiator of the Petition. "A Person who has promoted the sexual exploitation of children around the world and, therefore, money earned, was only sentenced to 18 months in prison and has now been thrown back into society."

Quickly the Petition has received more than half a Million signatures. In a Post Seo Ji-hyun, the Prosecutor, the #MeToo-led movement strongly condemned the decision of the court. "I was angry, sad and desperate, as I the judgment of the las," she said. "The judge should be ashamed that the court has imposed on the criminals, not the appropriate punishment."

Other spake not, but took the matter in Hand. They published the personal data of Son Jong-woo and the names of the three judges who had rejected his extradition.

"Wake up call" for Korea

The South Korean legal system must change, calls for Leif-Eric Easley, a Professor of international studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul. "It is difficult to understand that Seoul's Son Jong-has not delivered woo and that he was punished for his crimes against children are so lax," he explains in an interview with Deutsche Welle.

"Digital vigilantism is not the answer, but it should be a Wake-up call for the government," he added. "The systematic sexism in the justice system to tackle law reforms necessary for the Image of South Korea suffers from the fact that South Korea is perceived as a safe haven for global sex criminals."

An editorial in the newspaper "Chosun Ilbo" wrote shortly after the release of Son Jong-woo, that "many judges in this country still have a soft heart for the perpetrators of sexual crimes". A first-time offender of them would get a short sentence, who "come to regret", "a blue eye".

"are rapists sentenced to probation, if you have to feed a wife and children, while young sexual offenders their punishments, in view of their 'bright future' is reduced," reads the editorial. "Nevertheless, sex offenders have the highest recidivism rate in Korea. Perhaps the leniency of the judges has something to do with this alarming statistics."

The anger reached the policy

The anger is also directed against the policy. So there is another Petition that condemns the decision of the mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon, after his suicide on 10. To give July a five-day official funeral ceremony. More than 560,000 people had signed the Online Petition against it. The reason: An employee of the Park had accused him of sexual harassment. Shortly after the accusations, he took his own life. Under Korean law, an investigation will be set automatically, if the Person against whom it is determined, is dead.

"people are shocked because the Park as a human rights lawyer, was known, stood up for the equality of women," says a researcher, who wishes to remain anonymous. "I think he killed himself because he could not endure, as these allegations have harmed his reputation."

"But I think that the South Korean society is changing," she adds. "We can not compare the Situation for women today in the 1980s and 1990s. However, we still have a long way ahead of us. In the near future the laws are changed so that they give the public attitude to such crimes in South Korea again."

author: Julian Ryall (MM)

*The article "South Koreans are fighting back against lax penalties for sexual crimes," published by Deutsche Welle. Contact with the executives here.

Deutsche Welle
Updated Date: 22 July 2020, 08:26

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