Constitutional Court to Tackle Adultery Law Yet Again

      February 25, 2015 11:18

      The Constitutional Court will once again rule on the fate of Korea's singularly punitive adultery law, which mandates a jail sentence of up to two years.

      Critics of the law say it violates individuals' constitutionally protected rights to privacy and to freely engage in sexual activities. They say adultery should be governed not by criminal law but by civic law.

      But the law, which dates back to 1953, has been reviewed by the Constitutional Court four times so far and upheld every time. Opinion polls suggest that a majority of Koreans feel it is needed though perhaps too harsh.

      In 1990 and 1993, three out of nine Constitutional Court judges voted to scrap the law, but in 2001 only one. In 2008, the law was upheld by a slimmer majority.

      More than 100,000 people have been punished for violating the law since 1953. But only those who were punished after Oct. 31, 2008, when the court last upheld the law, can seek to have their sentence overturned if it is scrapped now. That leaves around 3,000 people who would stand to benefit from the ruling.

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