4th South Korean president jailed for corruption receives pardon — Analysis

Park Geun-hye, one of the four ex South Korean presidents to be jailed, has been pardoned to promote “national unity” 18 months after she was sentenced to 20 years on corruption charges that had brought down her administration.

69-year-old Park, who was South Korea’s first female president, was forced out of office in 2017 when she was impeached over a corruption scandal. Park was later convicted for bribery as well as abuse of power, and violations of election law. 

Moon Jae In and his Democratic Party won power after her defeat and widespread anger at the party. 

In January, South Korea’s highest court upheld Park’s conviction and sentence, ending the legal proceedings and opening the door for a pardon to be granted. 

South Korean ex-president Park Geun-hye gets reduced 20-year jail sentence in corruption trial

Announcing the pardon, Moon’s government stated that it was designed to “overcome unfortunate past history, promote people’s unity and join hands for the future,”It is our hope that it will “open a new era of integration.”

Park repeatedly stated she was innocent of any charges. She also claimed that she had never received money. Park, via her lawyer, offered an apology for the entire saga to the public and thanked Moon.

The decision to pardon Park marks a reversal from Moon’s previously state position to not pardon individuals convicted of corruption. However, with an increasingly tight presidential election approaching, he conceded to calls from Park’s People Power party to pardon her due to her deteriorating health and political division in the country.

Gallup Korea conducted a poll in November that showed 48% opposed to pardoning Park. However, this was a drop from the 60% that had been recorded earlier in 2011.

Park, Chun Doohwan and Roh Te-woo were the other two South Korean presidents convicted of corruption. Following their convictions, Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo were both pardoned. Park was found guilty of bribery, embezzlement as well as tax evasion.

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