Thursday, April 03, 2008

Korean Adultery Law

Adultery is a crime in Korea punishable by up to two years in jail. Now Ok So-Ri, a famous Korean actress who has been indicted for adultery, has petitioned Korea’s Constitutional Court to invalidate the 1953 law that criminalizes such conduct.

In her complaint, her attorneys have argued that, "The adultery law constitutes a serious breach of the individual's rights to make decisions concerning sex and privacy under the constitution. Adultery cases must be handled in civil courts, not in criminal courts."

However, although the legislation has been challenged before -- complaints were filed in 1990, 1993 and 2001 – the Constitutional Court has rejected all prior petitions on the grounds that social morality would be weakened.

Today, it is rare for people to be jailed but that does not stop thousands of angry spouses from filing criminal complaints each year.The danger that the law creates is illustrated by Ok So-Ri’s own case.
The issue began when her business partner – not her husband – accused her in the course of a business dispute of having committed adultery with a famous chef. She then went into hiding and when she emerged she denied the affair with the chef but admitted an affair with another man. Her husband then charged her with adultery.

Let us hope that the Constitutional Court corrects the problem.