Catholic body petitions court over death penalty

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Catholic body petitions court over death penalty

A local Catholic group said Tuesday that it will file a petition in the Constitutional Court for a review of Korea’s death penalty system.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea’s Committee for Justice and Peace said its subcommittee on the abolition of capital punishment will ask the top court to review whether the first clause of Article 41 of the Criminal Act, which stipulates the death penalty, is constitutional or not.

The petition is to be submitted to the Constitutional Court in the afternoon on behalf of a man who was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder at the Bucheon branch of the Incheon District Court last December.

Last year, the Catholic organization helped the man file a petition with a local court to rule on the constitutionality of the Criminal Act clause on death penalty, but the court rejected it, saying, “Capital punishment is the strongest deterrence against crimes.”

The Catholic organization said in its constitutional petition, “The life of every individual is of equal value and the life of each individual has an absolute meaning. Even brutal criminals who violate and destroy the life and human rights of others should not be an exception.”

It went on to argue the death penalty system is incompatible with the Constitution in that it treats capital punishment as a means of social defense, and doesn’t recognize a criminal as a human being capable of moral reflection and improvement.

The Constitutional Court ruled seven to two in 1996 and five to four in 2010 that the death penalty is constitutional.

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