The military prosecution said Tuesday it will bring an additional charge of sexual assault against one of the six soldiers accused of harassing and beating their junior conscript to death.
The 23-year-old Army private first class, surnamed Yoon, died in April after allegedly being hit in the chest by his colleagues at their barracks while eating some snacks. The assault caused a piece of food to obstruct his airway, leading him to die of asphyxiation.
Four of the alleged assailants were indicted on manslaughter charges, with the others -- a staff sergeant and a private first class -- charged with assault.
"We decided to modify the indictment to bring sexual harassment charges against a sergeant surnamed Lee," a senior Army officer said, requesting anonymity.
"On the day of the incident, Lee allegedly forced Yoon to apply ointment to his sexual organ. Lee told the prosecution he did it because Yoon responded to him in a nasty way," he added.
The prosecution has also been mulling whether to apply "murder charges against the four suspects rather than manslaughter, and will make a final decision within a week," according to the officer.
The court ruling had been due on Tuesday, but the prosecution asked for a delay in order to investigate the matter further, according to the defense ministry.
The case had been dealt with by a court of the 28th Artillery Division but was transferred to the court under the Army's Third Corps headquarters, it noted. (Yonhap)