The government on Monday said it will grant special pardons to 5,174 people, including conscientious objectors, minor offenders and activists, ahead of the new year.
The move, set to go into effect Tuesday, includes 1,879 conscientious objectors, 267 who have been convicted for breaching the election law, as well as three political and labor activists, the justice ministry said in a press release.
The government said the special pardon is aimed at relieving the burden of convicts whose livelihoods were affected and helping them return to society, anticipating the decision will become a source of "people's unity."
As it did with previous pardons, the government excluded powerful business tycoons and public officials from the list.
On conscientious objectors, the government said the decision was made on the basis of court rulings that acknowledged their cause for refusing to join the military.
At present, all able-bodied Korean men are required to serve in the Army for 21 months, the Navy for 23 months or the Air Force for 24 months. (Yonhap)