The military court in South Korea has sentenced a captain in the Army to six months in prison.
His sentence was suspended for a year, but he was convicted for having sex with another male soldier.
In South Korea’s Military Criminal Act, a person convicted of sodomy or ‘other disgraceful conduct” could face up to two years in prison. The soldier will not appeal the verdict.
According to reports on the Yonhap News Agency, the sex was in a private residence and consensual.
‘It is a bizarre clause that only has a perpetrator, without a victim,’ the Center for Military Human Rights Korea (CMHRK) said in a statement.
‘The captain was fulfilling his military duty and was originally scheduled to be discharged in April.
‘If he appeals the ruling he will have to stay in the military without knowing when the legal battle will be finished.’
According to the CMHRK the captain collapsed after the ruling was delivered and had to be taken to hospital. He soon left hospital in a stable condition.
‘This unjust conviction should be immediately overturned,’ said Roseann Rife, East Asia research director at Amnesty International in a statement.
‘No one should be persecuted based on their sexual orientation, activity or gender identity alone. What counts is their service not their sexuality.’
Hunting gay soldiers
The verdict comes only weeks after the CMHRK alleged a very senior Army official ordered soldiers to spy on gay soldier using gay dating apps.
The investigation reportedly uncovered about 50 soldiers who could face criminal action. But the army continues to deny the allegations saying it was legal.
In South Korea it is mandatory for all men to complete military service. Given its role in defending the country from North Korea, the military is a powerful institution in South Korea.
The country imported its military law from western countries, including the prohibition of gays serving in the armed forces. However, most western countries now allow LGBTI people to serve.