2018 Death Penalty report: Saudi Arabia’s False Promise

With crown prince Mohammed bin Salman at the helm, 2018 was a deeply violent and barbaric year for Saudi Arabia, under his de facto leadership.
PhotoDeera Square is a public space located in front of the Religious Police building in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in which public executions (usually by beheading) take place. It is sometimes known as Justice Square and colloquially called Chop Chop Square. After Friday prayers, police and other officials clear the area to make way for the execution to take place. After the beheading of the condemned, the head is stitched to the body which is wrapped up and taken away for the final rites.
This year execution rates of 149 executions, shows an increase from the previous year of three executions, indicating that death penalty trends are soaring and there is no reversal of this trend in sight.
The execution rates between 2015-2018 are amongst the highest recorded in the Kingdom since the 1990s and coincide with the ascension of king Salman to the t…

South Korea: 'Molar father' gets death penalty in murder of teen girl

Lee Young-hak
A Seoul court on Wednesday meted out a death sentence for a man charged with killing a school friend of his daughter after sexually molesting her. 

The Seoul Northern District Court handed down the gravest possible punishment on Lee Young-hak, 36, who had confessed to choking a 14-year-old girl to death in his home last September after committing lewd acts on her body while she was drugged.

Prosecutors had demanded the death penalty.

The court sentenced his daughter, whose identity was not revealed, to four years in prison for luring the friend to the house and helping her father dump her body. But her sentence can be extended up to six years in case of an infraction during her four-year imprisonment. 

The killing shocked the nation as Lee was publicly known after appearing on a TV show in the 2000s, which portrayed him as a poor man suffering from a rare dental disease while trying to eke out a living with a daughter who had the same incurable illness. 

Lee earned the nickname of "molar father" after losing all but one molar while treating the disease.

"It is hard to imagine the pain that the victim would have gone through," the court said in its ruling. "The court therefore delivers the sentence to the defendant in the name of the rule of law and justice, having taken all situations into account." 

The court berated Lee for not showing any regret or remorse, saying his demeanor shows he is unlikely to reform but will rather relapse into committing other similar -- or even worse -- crimes.

Lee was also indicted for working as his wife's pimp and forcing her to have sex with at least a dozen men. He also beat her and filmed her and the men on tapes. His wife took her own life in September.

The defendant faced fraud charges as well for raising 940 million won (US$873,000) through a fundraising campaign for his daughter's treatment and spending the money for himself.

It turned out that Lee had actually been living a luxurious life off government allowances and donations he received from those who took pity on him after seeing him on the TV show.

Legal experts noted that Lee's sentence can be considered heavy, as most recently-convicted murderers on death row were found guilty of multiple homicides. 

However, it's unlikely that Lee will be executed. The law upholds the death penalty but South Korea has not carried it out since 1997, amid debates over its abolition. 

If upheld by the top court, Lee will be the 62nd prisoner on death row by record, according to the Ministry of Justice. The latest death penalty was handed to a conscripted solider who killed five colleagues in a shooting spree at a military barrack in 2014.

Source: The Korea Herald, February 21, 2018

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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