Public broadcaster MBC released a photo of Cho, who is due to be released from prison Dec. 13 next year, during a program that aired Wednesday afternoon.
It was the first time Cho’s face was revealed to the public. Under the law, the faces of people who commit heinous crimes must be made public to uphold the public’s right to know. But that law was not in place at the time of Cho’s crime and does not apply to him.
Cho, then 57, with 18 previous criminal convictions, kidnapped an 8-year-old girl in 2008 and choked her in a church bathroom in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province, until she became unconscious. Cho then raped the girl, severely damaging her reproductive system.
As the end of Cho’s 12-year prison term approaches, there have been growing calls to keep him incarcerated.
A petition was posted on the presidential office’s homepage in September last year, asking Cheong Wa Dae to prevent Cho’s release. It has garnered more than 600,000 signatures to date.
The public had widely denounced the sentence for Cho as being too lenient.
In reducing Cho’s sentence to 12 years in prison from the maximum 15 years, the court cited “mental and physical weakness under the influence of alcohol.”