EXTERNAL AI Index: ASA 25/27/95
UA 249/95 Executions / Fear of further executions 2 November 1995
REPUBLIC OF KOREA (SOUTH KOREA) Bae Jin-sun, aged 22
Chi Jun-gil, aged 27
Chong Yong-bok, aged 38
Kang Dong-un, aged 23
Kang Mun-sok, aged 24
Kim Hyon-yang, aged 23
Kim Dong-sik, aged 31
Kim Chol-oh, aged 23
Kim Ki-hwan, aged 27
Lee Keun-ho, aged 43
Mun Sang-rok, aged 24
Park Sung-kyu, aged 29
Soh Hyuk-bin, aged 33
Shin Min-chul, aged 34
Song Jong-ho aged 34
Un Po-hyun, aged 38
At 8am on 2 November 1995, 19 executions were carried out in secret at prisons
in Seoul, Taegu, Pusan and Kwangju. In line with its usual policy, the South
Korean authorities did not give any warning of the executions. There are fears
that further executions may be imminent.
The executed prisoners had all been convicted of murder. They included Kim
Chol-oh who was aged 19 at the time of his arrest and claims to have been beaten
during police interrogation. Amnesty International had expressed concern that
his trial may have been unfair. Six of those executed had been sentenced to
death in October 1994, 25 days after they were first charged.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases, considering it
to be the ultimate form of cruel and inhuman punishment. It is further concerned
that some prisoners under sentence of death may not have had a fair trial.
Executions are carried out by hanging, on order of the Minister of Justice.
The death penalty is provided in law for a range of offences. Before these
latest executions there were some 50 prisoners under sentence of death, all
convicted of murder.
Prisoners under sentence of death live in perpetual fear that they may be
executed at any time. Prisoners are not told of their impending execution until
the day it is due to take place. No public announcement is made in advance,
neither are families informed. Some prisoners under sentence of death are
held in handcuffs for 24 hours a day, to prevent suicide or escape.
The number of executions in South Korea has increased over the past few years.
There were no executions in 1993 and 15 executions in 1994.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in
English, Korean or your own language:
- expressing deep concern about the execution of 19 prisoners on 2 November;