December 20, 2005 19:11
Amnesty International will for the first time target Korea in a campaign to abolish the death penalty. The human rights watchdog said Tuesday it decided to launch the campaign in 2006. Amnesty said it will temporarily declare Korea a country without capital punishment because next year is the 10th since Korea has carried out any executions.
Amnesty secretary general Irene Khan and senior officials will send an official letter asking the Korean government to abolish capital punishment, and the parliaments of Australia and the EU, which have long scrapped the death penalty, plan to send a similar recommendation to the National Assembly.
South Korea has executed some 902 criminals since it came into being, and 60 people remain technically on death row. But the last execution was carried out on Dec. 30, 1997 at the end of the Kim Young-sam administration when 23 prisoners were put to death. An abolition bill submitted by Uri Party lawmaker Yoo In-tae last December is pending before the Legislation and Judiciary Committee.
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