February 21, 2006 19:56
The Justice Ministry wants to replace the death penalty with life without parole under a long-term plan for judicial reform that could also restore convicts' voting rights.
The plan was announced Tuesday. The ministry says it will start reviewing capital punishment in the first half of this year, with research focused on whether it is an effective deterrent by comparing the rate of violent crime in countries with and without the death penalty.
The ministry will also review the feasibility of life imprisonment without parole including cost and effectiveness as a deterrent. Once the research is complete in June, it will serve as support for an abolition bill proposed by ruling-party lawmaker Yoo In-tae and others in the National Assembly in 2004.
The ministry will also review whether to allow prisoners to cast their vote in national elections. Current law strips prisoners of the right to vote. It will look at suggestions that the measure is too harsh in the case of crimes committed unintentionally, such as accidental killing, by reviewing relevant cases in Japan, Switzerland and other countries.
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