Letters to the Editor
firstname.lastname@example.org(The following is the letter we sent to the Court. If you would like to see the copy that has the signatures, please email me.)To Whom It May Concern:
With all due respect to the officials and peoples of the Republic of Korea, we are writing this letter, quite frankly, to express our shock and concern over the situation facing our friend Adam Yoon regarding the issue of conscientious objection. In the Republic of Korea it seems that this issue has not yet been resolved, since he still is facing a possible prison sentence instead of being able to do alternative service. As his friends, we strongly request and urge you to find him not guilty.
With humbled hands we, friends of Adam Yoon, take pen to paper to compose this letter to convey our utter shock and deep concern over the most distressing dilemma facing our friend Adam Yoon. In regards to the precious issue of conscientious objection in the Republic of Korea which is yet to be resolved, our friend faces a possible prison sentence instead of being given the liberty to choose to do alternative service. As loyal friends of his we beseech you to find him not guilty.
As conscientious citizens of the world we understand the pressing situation in regards to the struggle between North and South Korea. And as citizens of America, we recognize and regard our right to freedom of conscience as a human right and one granted by the United States of America in which we live. Because this freedom of conscience is vital to our existence and to Adam's we write you. In America, even existing members of the military who develop a "firm, fixed, and sincere objection to participation in war in any form or the bearing of arms," (Department of Defense Directive [U.S.]) based on moral, ethical, or religious beliefs, are entitled to discharge from the military or transfer to non-combatant status. And as clearly stated in United States of America's Military Selective Service Act (which is what outlines the regulations for America's military draft), "Nothing contained in this title shall be construed to require any person to be subject to combatant training and service in the armed forces of the United States who, by reason of religious training and belief, is conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form." Section 6(j).
Adam Yoon deserves the right to participate as a member of society regardless of his conscientious stand. During times of conflict in the United States the stance of conscientious objectors is recognized as valid and does not make them unfit to participate as a member of society. They are accepted as useful and productive members of society in the United States. Conscientious objectors opposed to serving in the military are placed in the Selective Service Alternative Service Program. This program attempts to match conscientious objectors with local employers. Many types of jobs are available, however the job must be deemed to make a meaningful contribution to the maintenance of the national health, safety, and interest. Examples of Alternative Service are jobs in conservation, caring for the very young or very old, education and health care.
Length of service in the program will equal the amount of time a man would have served in the military, usually 24 months. If the Republic of Korea were to adopt a similar system, it would be very useful to the country as it has been here in America. Especially considering the alternative is to put useful citizens in prison where they cannot work to further the economy or better society.
We are aware of the fact that the National Human Rights Commission of Korea advised that the government take on a system of alternative service for conscientious objectors on December 26, 2005 which, at the time, the government looked upon favorably. Where is this system and will it be available soon? We have knowledge that the Constitution of the Republic of Korea ensures its citizens freedom of conscience. We are ready to see this freedom enforced.
When Adam Yoon informed his friends that he would be going back to Korea to face imprisonment, some of his friends tried to persuade him not to go. Adam Yoon, though, insisted upon going back to show respect for the laws of the Republic of Korea since he does wish to do his best to be dutiful and honest citizen. Is it really correct to put such a principled, respectable, and trustworthy citizen in jail?
In conclusion, with humble hands we petition the court to declare Adam Yoon not guilty and that the Legislature and the Ministry of National Defense arrange an alternative to military service.
We appreciate the government of the Republic of Korea and all officials concerned for listening to our request.
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