SOUTH KOREA: ASSEMBLY SPEAKER CALLS FOR ABOLITION OF DEATH PENALTY
|Parliament chairman Kim Hyung-o
March 18, 2010: The National Assembly speaker demanded the abolition of the death penalty in South Korea, just days after the justice minister indicated the government could resume executions after more than 12 years.
"A human life is a dignified given value and right, and even the power of the state should not be able to take it away," House Speaker Kim Hyung-o said in a radio interview.
Justice Minister Lee Kwi-nam said the government may build a facility where executions of convicts imprisoned for heinous crimes can be carried out, suggesting a resumption of capital punishment.
Kim said South Korea should completely abolish the death penalty instead of continuing an "ambiguous" moratorium.
"A country that has propelled itself into the 21st century should not return to the habits of the old era," Kim said. "Criminals committing serious crimes can be punished through lifetime imprisonment without a chance for parole or pardon."
Justice Minister Lee told lawmakers that he did not mean executions would resume immediately.
"We have taken a cautious approach to the matter and will also do so in the future," he said. (Sources: Yonhap, 18/03/2010)