The majority of South Koreans agree that the death penalty should be abolished and replaced with alternative forms of punishment, the state-run human rights body announced Wednesday.
According to data from the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, 7 out of 10 Koreans are against retaining capital punishment on the condition that serious punitive measures are put in place to deter crime.
The commission released the data at a conference held to mark World Day Against the Death Penalty.
The survey showed that few Koreans were willing to do away with capital punishment immediately. Only 4.4 percent of respondents favored its immediate abolition, whereas 15.9 percent agreed that it should be abolished at some point in the future.
However, the number rose steeply, to 66.9 percent, when the question was rephrased to ask respondents if the death penalty should be replaced with other punitive measures.
Alternatives that respondents favored adopting in place of capital punishment included “absolute life imprisonment,” which topped the list with 78.9 percent in favor. This was followed by “absolute life imprisonment with punitive damages,” favored by 43.9 percent of survey respondents. Currently, the most common penalty for murder is a life sentence.
The abolition of the death penalty has been the subject of much debate in Korea, where the last execution took place in December 1997. According to the Ministry of Justice, there are currently 61 prisoners on death row.
By Korea Herald (email@example.com