29 October 2007 :

former South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung, the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize winner who was once held on death row, urged his country to abolish capital punishment. No one has been executed for a decade in South Korea, but the death penalty remains on the books. A bill to end the practice has languished in parliament for years. "The dignity of life is a natural right that nobody can infringe and demolish," Kim said at a ceremony in Seoul to launch a campaign to stop executions. There has been a moratorium on the death penalty since the end of 1997, when Kim was elected president. Kim was sentenced to death in 1980, charged with inciting the Gwangju uprising earlier that year which led to the killing of hundreds of protesters by troops. He later won a reprieve and amnesty following US representations to the Seoul government. Ahn Kyung-hwan, chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, said South Korea should abolish the death penalty despite public opposition, as was done in Britain, France and Germany.

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