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Priest complains he cannot go to jail

JEJU (UCAN): The District Court in Jeju, South Korea, found Father Bartholomew Mun Jung-hyun guilty on February 23 of obstructing police in the execution of their duties in a standoff near aimed at preventing the construction site of a military base on Jeju island.

Father Mun received an eight-month suspended sentence, but requested the court to allow him to do the time behind bars.

His sentence is suspended for two years.

Father John Lee Young-chan, Brother John Park Do-hyun and Father Peter Lee Kang-suh, from Seoul archdiocese, all got six months, also suspended for two years.

Another eight priests were fined 100,000 won (about $690). All six eight were charged with minor offences.

Father Mun, who is a retired priest from Jeonju diocese, was arrested on August 25 last year on a charge of interfering with the duties of a public official. He had tried to prevent the arrest of three men, who were also protesting against the construction of the military base, from being arrested.

Father Mun said he is disappointed that he has not been sentenced to do time.

“I appealed against the sentence as soon as I received it. I wanted the court to send me to prison and for more than eight months,” he said, as he believes that it would be a big boost to the long running opposition to the construction of the controversial base.

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