South Korea says it will grant a special pardon to former president Park Geun-Hye, who is serving a lengthy prision term for a series of corrupt charges.
The justice ministry said on Friday that Park’s pardon is aimed at promoting unity in the face of difficulties caused by covid-19 pandemic.
She was on the list of people recieving special amnesty and was pardoned from a perspective of national unity, Justice minister Park Beom-kye later explained to reporters following the ministry’s announcement.
The health factor was very important criteria in amnesty desision but its known all over the world that such pardons are meant to serve a political purpose and Park Geun-Hye’s pardon is no execption and i think it frees current leader to make dicisions with out fearing that he may end up like every SouthKorean president after leaving office.
Park Geun-Hye was arrested and sent to prision in 2017, after being removed from office following a corruption scandal that prompted months of street protests but some analysts still dispute corruption as having the main reason she was removed from power.
Park was elected as SouthKorea’s first female president despite being the daughter of Late South Korean president Park Chung-hee whom many people especially from the west and SouthKorea called authoritarian.
Park Geun-Hye, 69 was serving a 20 year prision sentence for beribery and abuse of power with another two years after that for election law violations. she would have left prision at the age of 89 if she wasn’t pardoned and if she had managed to survive that long.
The correcption scandal exposed shady links between big businesses and politics in South Korea which isn’t unique, with Park and her close friend Choi Sooni-sil accused of taking bribes from conglomerates, in exchange for preferential treatment which resulted into public backlash against Park and her conservative party.
Park pleaded for innocence to the charges, saying she never accecpted the money and she claimed the charges were fabricated as part of political revenge by conservative government against Roh aministration and I think she was not entirely wrong about her assessment since many analysts believed that external forces may have been involved in her ouster from power which some how has been proven by this sudden pardon.
What’s interesting is that her predecessor Lee Myyung-bak, who is also in prision wasn’t pardoned. He is serving a 17 year perison sentence over embezzlement and bribery convictions.
South Korea is heading to polls in March next year and this may also have been the main factor in pardoning her since supporters and politicians of converative party have been calling for Park’s pardon a head of the March 2022 presidential elections.
According to recent polls, the flag bearer of Moon’s ruling Democratic Party , Lee-Myung and People Power candidate Yoon Suk-yeol have been neck to neck which is not good for current president as he may face more prssure if the prospects of Lee Jae-myung losing elections increases.
Park Geun-Hye was the 11th president of South Korea from 2013 until 2017 when she was impeached and a year later convicted on related corruption charges.