S.Korea to abolish 30-yr period of prescription for death sentence

Seoul, Jun 6 (IANS): The South Korean government will push to scrap the period of extinctive prescription for the death penalty, currently set at 30 years, through legal revision, the Ministry of Justice said.

An amendment to the Criminal Act passed the Cabinet meeting on the day to eliminate clauses that exempt death-row convicts from the execution of the death sentence after 30 years, Yonhap News Agency quoted the Ministry as saying.

Articles 77 and 78 of the current Criminal Act stipulate that the period of prescription is completed if the death penalty has not been executed for 30 years.

If the amendment passes the National Assembly, the relevant provisions will disappear from the Criminal Act, the Ministry said.

The provisions were virtually dead letters in the past when the death sentence was executed soon after being finalised.

But they have become a matter of concern, as the nation has not carried out any executions since December 1997.

Indeed, a controversy has erupted over whether the nation's longest-serving death-row inmate, surnamed Won, who was convicted of arson and manslaughter in November 1993, could be exempted from the execution of his penalty this November when he will have been imprisoned for 30 years.

The Ministry said the amendment will be submitted to parliament this week.


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Title: S.Korea to abolish 30-yr period of prescription for death sentence

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