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S. Korea to toughen punishment against protesters wearing masks

All News 21:55 September 05, 2016

SEOUL, Sept. 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top court has approved a new set of sentencing guidelines on Monday that call for, among other things, strengthened punishment for those who wear masks during rallies.

The Supreme Court said it will receive reviews on its guidelines from the justice ministry and other relevant organizations before finalizing the guidelines.

Under the guidelines, those who wear masks during rallies could face up 18 months in prison.

Just 10 months ago President Park Geun-hye vowed not to tolerate illegal demonstrations and instructed officials to come up with strong measures to root out violent protests.

In November, she drew a comparison with Islamic State terrorists, saying demonstrators should not be allowed to wear masks.

The government said protesters tend to turn violent while hidden behind anonymity during street rallies.

In 2009, then-ruling party lawmakers proposed revisions to the public assembly to prohibit protesters from wearing masks to cover their faces, arguing that anonymity tends to fuel violence. The bill was not passed at the time.


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