Gov't to Clear Way for Execution of Long-Term Death Row Inmates

      April 13, 2023 12:19

      The Justice Ministry on Wednesday announced plans to scrap a clause that forbids the execution of convicts if they have been on death row for more than 30 years.
      In 2015, the ministry scrapped the statute of limitations on crimes punishable by death, but inmates are exempt if they have been on death row for more than 30 years.
      The plans are baffling since Korea has effectively abolished the death penalty by carrying out no executions since 1997.
      But nominally 59 prison inmates languish under sentence of death. One of them has been on death row since 1993 for setting fire to a Jehovah's Witness church, killing 15 people. Reports that he could now escape his sentence under the sunset clause seem to have sparked clamor for a political gesture.
      A ministry official said, "We will gather various opinions and reflect them when we finalize the revision."
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