South Korean Prosecutors Demand Prison Term, Fine for U.S. Soldiers
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ Prosecutors on Friday demanded a one-year prison term for an American soldier who is accused of attacking a Korean man at a subway station.
Sgt. Frank Golinar, a military policeman assigned to the U.S. 8th Army, says he was the victim, not the aggressor, and was set upon without provocation by a group of Koreans.
Fellow Sgt. Gary F. Dorr, a fellow military policeman, is also accused of taking part in the May 19 fight. The incident follows a series of crimes involving U.S. soldiers stationed in Asia, including the rape of a Japanese schoolgirl.
The incident has triggered anti-American sentiment here, where officials are calling for revisions to the Status of Forces Agreement, a 1966 pact allowing 37,000 U.S. troops to be stationed in the country. Many Koreans believe the agreement enables American soldiers to escape punishment for crimes.
In Friday’s court session, the prosecution and defense agreed only that a fight took place involving Golinar, Dorr and Cho Chung-kook.
One prosecution witness, Chung Chan-ho, said the alleged victim tried to flee but Golinar chased him, and kicked and punched him.
But military policewoman and defense witness Erika Werner said she never saw anyone assault Cho. Instead, she said a group of Koreans dragged Dorr onto his knees and attacked Golinar after slamming him up against a wall.
Prosecutors on Friday demanded a one-year sentence for Golinar and a $600 fine for Dorr.
A court ruling is expected Dec. 21.
Cho said the midnight fight flared when he asked the soldiers to stop singing loudly and one responded with an obscenity. Golinar later put his hands on a Korean woman’s buttocks, which Cho said further angered him.
Defense witnesses deny the account.
As it stands, the Status of Forces Agreement allows the U.S. military to take custody of accused soldiers until all appeals are completed. South Korea wants that changed, and Japan is battling the United States over the same issue.
On Friday, a joint U.S.-South Korean panel ended two days of negotiations on the agreement. Talks will continue later this month.