[Deathpenalty]death penalty news --- worldwide
j_sommer at gmx.net
Tue Jul 27 19:43:38 CDT 2004
death penalty news
July 27, 2004
Death penalty answers cries of victims
In January, 1998, a controversy began at Mountain View Unit Prison in
Texas. On death row for 13 years, Karla Faye Tucker, who was convicted of
two murders in 1985 and admitted she got sexual gratification when she axed
her victims, declared that she was a born-again Christian. Pope John Paul
II appealed to the court to commute the death penalty and other religious
organizations joined in the plea. But she was given a lethal injection at
6:35 a.m. on Feb. 3, 1998.
Anthony Porter, an African-American who was convicted of murdering two
teenagers in 1982, was on death row for 17 years. As he was waiting for his
scheduled execution in February, 1999, the man who was really responsible
for the crime was caught. Only 15 hours before the execution, Anthony
Porter was freed.
The death penalty has long been controversial for its shortcomings. Those
who advocate scrapping capital punishment in Korea like to cite the cases
of two men. Jo Bong-am, a leader of the Progressive Party, was executed in
1959 during the military regime on an espionage charge , and Colonel Choi
Chang-sik, who was executed for having destroyed the bridges over the Han
River during the Korean War, was found not guilty later.
Nevertheless, there certainly are criminals who deserve the death penalty.
"The Big Thief," a novel by a former safecracker, Baek Dong-ho, was based
on true cases and tells stories of a murderer who killed his wife and ate
her flesh with kimchi, and a man who axed the family of his girlfriend for
opposing their marriage. Champions of capital punishment deride opponents'
efforts by citing the cases of brutal killers.
Recently, the Uri Party lawmaker Yoo Ihn-tae started an open discussion on
whether to abolish capital punishment. He saw fellow democratization
activists being executed on April 8, 1974, the day after they were found
guilty. The experience made him an opponent of the death penalty.
Using capital punishment for political retaliation can be ended as
democracy matures and the rule of law develops. It is absurd to insist on
abolishing it without taking proper steps. The National Assembly has no
right to silence the cries of the families who lost loved ones to brutal
(Ahn Sung-kyoo, the writer is a political news deputy editor of the
JoongAng Ilbo. Contact: askme at joongang.co.kr)
(source: Column, JoongAng Daily)
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