Three Russian men who fled to South Korea before the partial mobilization for the war in Ukraine have been living at Incheon Airport for months. Now two of them can apply for asylum. The competent court gave no reason.
All three men – whose identities have not been released at the request of their lawyers and for fear of reprisals against their parents who remained in Russia – had applied for refugee status after landing in South Korea. The Ministry of Justice rejected this because the wish to conscientious objection is not grounds for asylum in South Korea. The country has a mandatory 18-month military service for all able-bodied males.
Lawyer: ‘Clients do not want to kill innocent people’
They appealed the denial and remained at Incheon Airport throughout the trial. Two of them were now proved right, the third can appeal against the rejection. Lee Jong Chan, the lawyer for the Russian refugees, welcomed the protection status of two of his clients and said the denial of the third party’s application was “deplorable”. The three men came to South Korea “to avoid killing and murdering innocent people in a war provoked by their homeland.”
Asylum seekers are now allowed to leave the airport
The two Russians, who were successful in court, can now leave Incheon Airport and find a place to stay in South Korea while they go through the multi-year asylum process. The third must remain at the airport pending an appeal, along with two other Russians whose cases have yet to be heard by the court.
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