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April 2, 2010

Notable report on debate over capital punishment in South Korea

I always find interesting the attitudes and practices of Asian countries concerning the death penalty, which is why this new article from South Korea caught my eye.  The piece is headlined "Recent murder case sparks death penalty debate in South Korea," and here are excerpts:

A recent rape and murder case in South Korea has sparked debate over the death penalty, with many South Koreans calling for capital punishment against the culprit.  The rape and murder of a teenage girl in South Korea has shocked the country.  The body of the 13-year-old victim was found in a water tank near her home.

The suspect -- Kim Kil-tae -- was captured earlier this month in the southern port city of Busan. He is believed to have spent 11 years behind bars for two previous rapes.

Reacting to the case, many South Koreans want the death penalty to be enforced, to deter similar crimes.  A recent survey carried out in South Korea showed that more than 80 per cent supported capital punishment.  The consensus is that the punishment should match the severity of the crime, and capital punishment also serves as a deterrence.

Of the 3,049 adults surveyed, 83.1 per cent said they supported the death penalty, and only 11.1 per cent were opposed to it....

Opinions among government officials and politicians were more divided. South Korea's National Assembly Speaker Kim Hyung-o said the state could not take away a human life, while Justice Minister Lee Kwi-nam recently hinted at support for the death penalty, by suggesting the government build a facility to execute death row prisoners.

The last time South Korea carried out the death penalty was in 1997, when 23 people were executed by hanging.  Currently, there are 59 convicts on death row.

April 2, 2010 at 11:37 PM | Permalink


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The issue recently came up in Taiwan as well, with the Justice Minister stating that she would never sign execution orders. She resigned a few days later.

Posted by: BC | Apr 3, 2010 2:08:47 AM

Deterrence should stop being an argument for the death penalty. To kill a person to teach an speculative, unknown, future, other criminal a lesson sounds unfair and even unconstitutional, even in South Korea.



Also of sentencing note. Articles 28 and 29 (1).

Article 28 [False Imprisonment]
In a case where a criminal suspect or an accused person who has been placed under detention is not indicted as provided by law or is acquitted by a court, he is entitled to claim just compensation from the State under the conditions as prescribed by law.

Article 29 [State and Official's Liability]
(1) In case a person has sustained damages by an unlawful act committed by a public official in the course of official duties, he may claim just compensation from the State or public organization under the conditions as prescribed by law. In this case, the public official concerned are not immune from liabilities.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 3, 2010 8:42:33 AM

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