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Maximum jail term for child sex offenders set to rise to 50 years

All Headlines 10:44 December 02, 2009

SEOUL, Dec. 2 (Yonhap) -- The government and the ruling Grand National Party (GNP) are pushing to raise the maximum jail term to 50 years for perpetrators of violent crimes, including sexual abuse of children, officials said Wednesday.

The move is part of the latest proposed legal revision following fierce public outcry over a local court ruling that sentenced the rapist of an 8-year-old girl, who became disabled because of the crime, to only 12 years in jail.

The new proposal calls for tougher punishment than the Justice Ministry's earlier draft to raise the ceiling of "limited-period" imprisonment to 30 years.

The nation's current laws carry sentences of death and life in prison or a "limited-period prison term" of a maximum of 15 years, but there are no sentences between the two extremes.

The government and the GNP also agreed to abolish the statute of limitations for all sex crimes against children.

"By abolishing the statute of limitation, we will put efforts to make people realize that legal justice is still alive," Rep. Joo Seong-young of the GNP said after the party's policy consultation meeting with the government.

"Although the death penalty system still remains in South Korea, there has been de facto moratorium. So it is necessary to raise the maximum jail term," Joo said.

The last execution was carried out in December 1997 and there has since been an unofficial moratorium on the death penalty.

ejkim@yna.co.kr
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