Seven South Korean convicts currently imprisoned overseas will be returned home to serve the remainder of their terms in domestic jails. The Justice Ministry said it would also send four foreign prisoners now in Korean jails back to their home country.
The first repatriations of international inmates followed Korea’s subscription last year to the European Convention on the Transfer of Convicts.
The treaty, designed to minimise the emotional alienation and inconvenience of prisoners serving outside their home countries, went into effect here as of November.
The convention allows each of its 61 signatories to take back its nationals imprisoned in signatory countries to serve the rest of their sentences in their homeland.
“The seven South Koreans and four foreigners will be returned to their respective homelands upon approval from their governments and confirmation of transfer schedules,” the ministry said.
On Friday October 13, the Justice Ministry held a meeting to review nine applications from South Koreans in overseas jails and six foreign convicts in local prisons.
Through the meeting, two Korean convicts in the United States and five in Japan received approval to return home. Of the remaining two who are imprisoned in Japan, one was excluded from the list for “a homosexual propensity” and the other for a severe illness which could cause death during the transfer.
Among the six foreign applicants, two murder convicts were banned from returning home to Japan and the United States due to opposition from victims’ families.
As of August this year, over 1,400 South Koreans were imprisoned abroad, including 917 in Japan, 196 in the United States and 161 in China. And 614 foreigners are currently imprisoned in domestic jails.
The government has been striving to reach bilateral agreements on convict transfers with nations that have not joined the international treaty, with an increasing number of Korean nationals being sentenced to jails in China, Vietnam, Mongolia, Peru and others.