Thursday, September 1, 2011


UCAN REPORT: Songs and discussions form background to plea to end death penalty
September 1, 2011
Catholic Church News Image of Author joins abolitionist concert
Writer Mary Gong Ji-young talking at a recital against the death penalty

The Korean Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Abolition of Capital Punishment organised a concert and recital on August 30 to promote awareness about ending the death penalty.

Some 80 participants, mostly in their 20s and 30s, enjoyed songs from guest singers and a talk-in with a well-known author at the Catholic Youth Center, Seoul.

Mary Gong Ji-young, whose best-selling book is about prisoners on death row, said during the concert: “I have met many condemned criminals since I started to write the novel in 2003. I will be willing to join such events until the death penalty disappears.”

She has voluntarily visited condemned criminals once a month as a part of a Catholic social correction service.

Sister Lutgarda Cho, coordinator of the subcommittee, said “We planned the concert to lead young people to think about the dignity of life and capital punishment while enjoying songs and talks.”

Concerts will be held once a month till December and Bishop Matthias Ri Iong-hoon of Suwon, president of the subcommittee, will celebrate a Mass for abolition of capital punishment in November.

South Korea was classified as ‘abolitionist in practice’ after 10 years with no executions since the end of 1997. But there is still no legal bar to the death penalty, and the Constitutional Court ruled last year that is still constitutional.

There were some 60 condemned criminals as of June 2011.

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