Monday, 13 October 2008

South Korea: Challenge to death penalty law

A South Korean death row inmate has been given leave to make a constitutional challenge to the country's death penalty law.

The Gwangju High Court filed the appeal on 3 October on behalf of a 70 year-old who was convicted of murdering four tourists on board his boat, according to The Korea Times.

The newspaper reported that he asked the provincial court to file his petition claiming the death penalty is unconstitutional.

It said his appeal would be suspended until the Consititutional Court ruled on the application.

The validity of the current death penalty law was last confirmed in 1996.

The judge at his trial said: "At the time of the latest constitutional ruling on the death penalty in 1996, the Constitutional Court stated it was constitutional although it indicated the need to scrap the capital punishment on a long term basis."

Amnesty International said in December 2007 that South Korea was "in practice" an abolitionist country, after it had not executed anyone for ten years.

The last executions in South Korea were on 30 December 1997, when 18 men and 5 women were executed in prisons across the country.

Related stories:
South Korea: Death penalty for child murders? -- 09 April 2008
South Korea: 100 days for abolition -- 06 February 2008
South Korea: Renewed calls for abolition -- 12 October 2007
Call for South Korea to show 'leadership' -- 27 June 2006
South Korea death penalty hearing -- 10 April 2006
South Korea: Kim Dae-jung's call for abolition -- 06 March 2006
South Korea – former president calls for abolition -- 27 February 2006

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