Suspension of Death Penalty Fails to Quell Rising Murder Rate

      October 24, 2008 10:36

      The number of murders has increased by 32 percent since capital punishment stopped being implemented, according to data submitted by the Ministry of Justice to Grand National Party lawmaker Joo Kwang-deok.
      Korea's last death sentences were carried out 11 years ago, when 23 condemned criminals were executed in December 1997. An annual average 607 people were indicted for murder between 1994 and 1997, when capital punishment was in effect. The number then increased by 32 percent to 800 from 1998 to 2007. The number of people accused of murder never surpassed 700 before 1997 -- yet has exceeded 700 ever since 1998.
      "The surge in the number of murders after ceasing to apply capital punishment indicates that law and principles are being neglected,” Joo said.
      Since 1998, 58 people have been sentenced to death; 19 of these cases were later commuted to life imprisonment while three have died. The Ministry of Justice said that each condemned criminal costs the state W1.6 million (US$1=W1,406).
      Unlike Korea, the number of executions in Japan is increasing, from 11 between 2000 and 2005 to 13 in 2007. Ten people have been executed there this year alone. And in the U.S., 501 people have been executed since 2000.
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