Court issues arrest warrant for pastor for election law violation

A court on Monday issued an arrest warrant for a controversial conservative pastor for allegedly violating election law by asking participants in a street rally to support a specific political party in April's general election.

The Central District Court approved the prosecution's request to arrest Rev. Jun Kwang hoon, saying there is probable cause to detain him for election law violations.

"The defendant, in light of the severity of allegations against him, could opt to escape punishment by fleeing," the court said.

Jun, chairman of the Christian Council of Korea, is accused of calling for support for a specific political party in the April 15 general election during an anti government outdoor rally on large square in the Gwanghwamun area of central last year

Jun has joined forces with several conservative politicians to organize a string of rallies in the central square to denounce President Moon Jae in's major policies.

Jun came under investigation after the Metropolitan Government's election commission and a Christian civic group filed separate criminal complaints against him over election law violation.

Election law prohibits electioneering prior to the start of the official period.

After a monthlong probe, Seoul's Jongno Police Station asked for a pretrial detention warrant for Jun on Feb. 18 and the prosecution accepted the request.

A court hearing on the request for Jun's arrest warrant was originally scheduled for Friday but was postponed to Monday at the pastor's request.

In December last year, prosecutors requested the same court detain Jun for allegedly inciting violence against police during a mass rally on Oct. 3 to call for the resignations of Moon and then Justice Minister Cho Kuk.

But the court refused to issue an arrest warrant at that time.

Jun also stirred up controversy by pushing ahead with a massive anti government rally in central on Saturday in disregard of the central and municipal governments' ban on outdoor rallies as part of emergency measures to fight the spread of coronavirus infections.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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