Catholics in South Korea move for the abolition of death penaltyBy Tracy Cabrera

Catholics in South Korea move for the abolition of death penalty
By Tracy Cabrera

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — While a number of Filipino leaders are still contemplating the reimposition of the death penalty as a means to curb heinous crimes, Catholic church officials in South Korea have reiterated a call to Seoul’s parliament to legally abolish capital punishment as part of the spirit of Christmas in celebrating the holiday festivities.

While no one has actually been executed in South Korea since 1997, capital punishment remains in the codes of criminal law and sentiments form Catholics in the country have again been put forward as Catholic Koreans prepare for Christmas

According to Korean bishops’ committee for justice and peace and lawmaker Fidelis Lee Sang-min of the ruling Minjoo Party, the call against the death penalty is in time for Pope Francis’ Christmas message of God’s love and sharing with others.

“Today we again in South Korea make the journey from moratorium of death penalty to its legal abolition,” said CBCK committee president Bishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik of Daejeon. “Only when the value of human life is respected, the cruelty of humanity can be cured,” You added.

“Now it’s time for the National Assembly to answer our calls by presenting a bill to abolish it and passing it.”

In earlier statements, National Assembly speaker Chung Sye-kyun has noted that “some say capital punishment should be maintained to counterpart the ever-ferocious crimes in our society.”

Chung disclosed, though, that the National Assembly will try its best to abolish it in the process of constitution revision and bill deliberation.
South Korea has not carried out an execution since December 30, 1997 with the country considered as a de facto abolitionist country, but it still has capital punishment in codes of criminal law.

There are about 61 people currently on death row in the country. (Source Union of Catholic Asian News)

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