After ruling, 5 adulterers sprung from jail terms

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After ruling, 5 adulterers sprung from jail terms

Five convicted adulterers were released from prison following the Constitutional Court’s striking down of the 62-year old adultery law last week, the Ministry of Justice said Friday.

According to the ministry, a total of nine people were serving prison terms for adultery convictions when the court ruled the law unconstitutional on Feb. 26. Five were freed.

Three of the convicts were held because they were originally sentenced to pay fines for other convictions but failed to do so and were ordered to do hard labor. They are eligible to be released after paying the fines.

One prisoner has to stay in jail because of a conviction and prison sentence on another charge.

The ministry did not reveal the genders of the prisoners.

The five people who were released can seek financial compensation from the government in the future.

Asked about the relatively small number of prisoners released, a prosecution official said on condition of anonymity, “It is rare to see a prison sentence in an adultery case. Most people convicted of adultery were given suspended sentences.”

According to the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, only nine of the 769 people prosecuted for adultery last year were sentenced to prison terms. A total of 456 were given suspended prison terms, while 304 were either acquitted or the charges were dropped.

This year, only four of 105 people prosecuted were ordered to serve actual prison terms as of Feb. 24.

According to a poll conducted by Gallup Korea from Tuesday through Thursday, 53 percent of 1,003 respondents opposed the decision, while 34 percent said they agreed with it.

The poll showed that 63 percent of women respondents disagreed with the decision. In case of men, 42 percent supported it and 43 percent opposed it.

BY NAM YOON-SEO [nam.yoonseo@joongang.co.kr]
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